Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 Christmas Newsletter

I love this time of year. There is so much excitement in the air and so much to be thankful for. This year has been a good one for us. It seems to have passed so quickly- it goes faster every year. I love to go back and read about each year that passes, so I thought I would document it here this year. Consider this our "Christmas Newsletter"!

Bryan is halfway done with his residency! He loves his job and is so good at at it. It's fun for me to hear him talk "Dr." talk on the phone with his colleagues or patients. He's so smart and really knows his stuff! He stays busy with work (of course), taking care of all of us, and serving in the High Priest group leadership in the ward. He is dedicated to everything he does. We are really looking forward to having him all to ourselves for a week after Christmas! This year, the word busy took on new meaning for me. It seems that we have not had a moments rest for a while! The kids are getting older which means they have more things to do- school, preschool, homework, after school activities, more friends to play with, etc. I love being a mom and would not have it any other way. I am very grateful for the opportunity I have to stay at home with my kids. We have so much fun together. Just yesterday, I was called to be the Primary president in our newly formed Notre Dame Ward. I am so excited for this change! I am also feeling a little overwhelmed at the idea too. I have been trying to enjoy our ward more and get more involved somehow- I guess Heavenly Father answered my prayers! :) This is the way to do it, I guess. I really can't wait to serve the children in our ward. What a blessing. It seems that there were times this year when I felt out of place and alone, but looking back I have learned a lot. I love where I am at in life and I couldn't be happier!
Miss Niah is no longer a little girl. She has grown into a young lady! I can't believe that she will be turning seven in less than a month. Whoa. Niah had a great year with many new experiences. She lost her first tooth, she played softball, said goodbye to good friends and made lots of new friends, graduated Kindergarten and entered First grade. She is a terrific student and her teachers can't say enough good about her. She's reading at a third grade level. Her class members adore her. She is always coming home with notes from them that say things like, "You are such a good friend, "Can I sit by you at lunch?" "You are my best friend!" She is admired by all, even her little sister and brother can't get enough of her. She is very mature for her age and notices things that most kids her age don't think about. We love having her in our family. I wouldn't know what to do without my big helper!
Chloe Nan is a spit fire! She makes us laugh on a daily basis. She has a quick sense of humor and charming way about her. She will be turning five in February. Ahhh! That can't be happening. Chloe started preschool this year. She LOVES it. She loves her teachers and is learning how to make new friends. She is taking speech therapy through her school and at times gets frustrated with it, but is working hard at it. I can see some improvement already. She loves the dog and is usually the one to help out with her and play with her. She is really into being fancy- all the time. She adores anything that sparkles and shines. Her hair always has to be just right and so do her clothes. She has a fashion sense that most four year olds don't. I never have to worry about what she picks out to wear because she knows how to match and can pick out darling outfits all by herself! Chloe loves making things and using her imagination. We love Chloe Nanners and are so glad she is a part of our family.
Mr. Bennett is growing up too. What a joy this little boy is! I really can't get enough of him. He is so pleasant to be around. Bennett is talking a ton and makes us laugh with the things he says. He tells me he "loves me bigger" on a regular basis. He is obsessed with Captain America right now. He wears his costume almost every day and loves to watch the movie whenever he can. His favorite line is, "You never give up do you!" He'll say that and then shoot us with his fist and a funny gun noise. I can't help but laugh- maybe I shouldn't laugh at him shooting pretend guns. Oh well! Benny loves to wear hats. He always has one on his head. He still loves baseball and asked Santa for a baseball piggybank! All of his teachers in nursery can't believe what a good colorer he is. They think he's very smart. I think so too! I always tell people that if I could guarantee that all my kids would be like Bennett I would have ten more! Really. He is so happy and such a good boy. We love Benny Boo and can't imagine life without him.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas! We hope you find joy and peace during this wonderful time of year.

Love,

The Mason Family

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Tree

Christmas is here! There is definitely a lot of Christmas Spirit in the Mason household. We have been working on lots of Christmas projects and doing things like watching Christmas movies, picking out our annual ornaments, decorating, and trying to keep the kids from snooping! Apparently, staring at those presents under the tree was just too much. Bennett decided to have his own Christmas this morning! I came downstairs to find his present from Grandma Mel unwrapped. I said, in probably too loud a voice, "Bennett Charles, what are you doing?!" His reply was, "Look, it's Woody!" I couldn't be mad. It was too cute to see his excited face. I decided to grab the camera and Bennett willingly gave me a big cheeser grin. I think he knew he was in a little bit of trouble! He pulled the string on the back a few times and then I took it from him and rewrapped it. It's now back under the tree. Don't you love his hairdo and his shiner on his eye? Someone, (okay Chloe) decided to push Bennett right into the dining room chair. Ouch.
Today was the big day to go and find our Christmas tree! We went to the same place as last year, Butler Tree Farms, and it didn't disappoint! We had a great time. We finally got some snow yesterday so it felt a little more like Christmas.


I love this time of year. I love to see how excited my kids get about everything. The anticipation is killing them. They still have a long time to wait!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Busy Busy

We have been busy, busy around here. I feel that as time goes on the less time we have to just hang out and relax. Our days have been filled with school activities, Dr. appointments, vet appointments, physical therapy for my neck, Thanksgiving dinner at Bryan's work, driving kids around here and there, visitors, a getaway for me and Bryan, and lots of other things. It's been crazy! I haven't taken many pictures lately. Here are the ones I have taken.


This picture reminds me of a paparazzi picture or something. Bennett looks like a celeb with his flat brimmed hat, zip hoodie and his skinny jeans! Niah thinks he looks like Justin Bieber. It makes me laugh. Bryan's mom, dad, and grandma came to see us last weekend. They stayed with the kids while Bryan and I went to Toledo to see Les Misreables. This was my fourth time seeing it and it was one of the best. It was incredible! Can I just tell you how great it was to be able to get away, even for only a night?! I needed that for sure. Thank you Shannon, Ferald, and Grandma-Great for making that possible!


I love having visitors! It gives me something to look forward to. I hate it when they leave though. This is the only picture I got while they were here. Terrible.
Here are the kids today. They were fighting and causing trouble this morning so I gave them a Sunday assignment! They are coloring pictures of family and Niah had questions she had to answer about why she loves her family and how she can make our home a happier place. I'm mean I know. They are happy now though and getting along great! :)
Another thing that we are dealing with right now is the dog. She was diagnosed with advanced hip dysplasia. Wah. We spent another load of money getting x-rays of her to see what was wrong. Our breeder has a two year health guarantee. I called him to see what our options are. He said he's never had anything like this happen before and would be happy to give us another dog. What?! Are you kidding?! I will not go through the puppy phase again and I would have to pay for shots, spaying, etc all over again! We don't want to give Mabel back, of course. She is part of the family now. Another option is a hip replacement. What?! No way. Who knows how much that will cost. For now, we are keeping her on meds to keep her comfortable. I'm sure her life span will shorten a lot and eventually she'll get arthritis and we'll probably have to put her down someday. Sad. We love her. It's so sad to see her limping all the time. She can barely get up after laying down and she has no endurance. She can run and play for about 10 or 15 minutes and then she's done. I guess one perk about this situation is that she is a great dog. She doesn't get into anything and she just kind of lays around all day. What are the chances we pick the one dog out of eleven that had hip dysplasia?! Oh well. We love Mabel and wouldn't trade her for anything.
That's what's been happening around here lately. I am looking forward to this week. Birthday, family, shopping, and lots of fun! Can't wait!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween and Fall

Our Halloween was great! The kids had a blast trick-or-treating this year. Bennett finally caught on and understood what to do! Niah dressed up as Susan from Narnia. Grandma Shannon made her costume. It was perfect! Niah was so happy about it. Chloe dressed up as a fairy. She saw some purple fake eyelashes in a magazine and had to have them, so we planned her costume around those darn eyelashes! She looked so pretty. Bennett was an astronaut. We had a zipper malfunction so he looks a little 'GQish' with his zipper open.


And of course, don't forget Mabel. She wore Chloe's old Tinkerbell costume! It was only on long enough for me to snap a picture then she tried to eat the wings.
We carried on our annual tradition of soup and breadsticks. The kids were so excited to go trick-or-treating that they didn't really eat. They were full on candy anyway! (Notice Bennett's costume change. He went trick-or-treating as a fireman. He just couldn't make up his mind!)
Tuesday, Bryan had the day off so we spent the afternoon out in the yard raking leaves and enjoying the beautiful weather. I love days like that.

Chloe's enjoying a snack out in the sunshine!



I love this time of year. I don't want it to end. At least we haven't had any snow yet!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Visit From the Little Sister

My sister, McKell, came to visit for a few days before she leaves on her mission next month. I am SO glad she got to come. It was so much fun having her and I loved having someone to hang out with and talk to during the days. We kept her busy while she was here. We made apple cider donuts, went to Thistleberry Farm and did three corn mazes (super fun by the way), got hooked on the show 'Up All Night' and watched all the episodes, had a sister's night out to eat Chinese, had a Lion King movie night, and went apple picking. I meant to take more pictures, but when I pulled out my camera the battery was dead. Shoot! I only got pictures at the apple orchard. It was a pretty day- except for the wind. Kell had never been picking before so we showed her how it was done! Is this the cutest picture ever?! I think so.



Bryan thought he was Superman for a minute.

We went picking late in the season, so there weren't a ton of apples left. We had to climb some trees to get the ones up high!
Oh, sister love. My nose is crinkled funny here for some reason.
It seems like Kell was here forever ago, but it hasn't even been a week since she left. The time went too fast, as usual. I know McKell will be an awesome missionary! I wish I could go with her to Italy and see her work. People are going to love her! We love you Kelly and will miss you so much. Thanks for coming to see us. We had a blast. Bennett said today that he wants Kelly at his house! Oh, and Kell if you are reading this, maybe you can send me all your pictures?! Sorry I dropped the ball on that one! :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Repurposing

This past weekend, Bryan and I were really in the mood to fix up our family room a bit. Everything is brown and boring and just not put together. It has been bugging me soooo bad! So, we headed out to the thrift store and found this beauty. Okay, well not a beauty yet, but just wait. We used paint we had on hand and gave this table a makeover.





Here it is after being sanded down.
And tada! Here is the finished product. We are going to use it as a side table to go with the new couches we just got. I eventually want to paint the walls a light turquoise color and add red and yellow accents. This is just holding me over until Bryan can start moonlighting, then we can splurge some more!
Total cost- $20.00. Total time for project- 3 hours. The next project was this desk that Bryan found on the side of the road- for FREE!! It was in rough shape, but with some sanding, wiping, wood glue, and a paint job it's as good as new!
Here is the after! It would be perfect for a little girls room or college student, I think. Total time for this makeover 4 hours. (Including paint drying time!) Total cost- $0. We used what we had around! I love how it turned out. I'm going to sale it and see if we can actually make money off of it!
I am in the mood to buy a whole bunch of things and fix them up. It really isn't hard and it would be a great job for making a little extra money for my decorating fantasies I have in my head! This probably won't be the last of the makeovers!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Best Caramel Recipe Ever

Last Sunday, the Dr. That Bryan has been working with invited us out to his house for dinner. For dessert they served us apples with caramel and boy, was it to die for!! I made Bryan get the recipe from the nurse that made it for the doctor's family. I made it last night and served it to the missionaries that came for dinner. It was a hit, again! So, I'm posting it here so you can enjoy the deliciousness too!
2 c. Brown sugar
1 c. Butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1c. Corn syrup
Stir over medium heat. Boil 9 minutes, stirring continuously. You can boil it for 12 minutes if you want a harder caramel. Continue to stir until cooled a bit. Add 1/2 c. sour cream when cooled. (this makes it stay soft) Serve with apples, on ice cream or eat it by the spoonful!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October Conference

I always look forward to Conference weekend. It's a time to just stay home, relax, enjoy each other's company and most important, listen to our prophet and apostles speak to us. We were lucky enough to have great weather too. We sat outside with the speakers blaring to listen to one of the sessions of conference. The kids were so happy to be outside in the sunshine!

Chloe caught a butterfly. She is our bug girl. She is not afraid of bugs or creepy things at all! Benny played basketball and would cheer loudly after every basket made. He is so good at sports. He's very coordinated for a two year old!
Bryan and Mabel enjoyed some bonding time. Mabel has a hurt leg and could barely walk for a few days. I finally took her to the vet for some anti-inflammatory drugs. Let's hope they help! B mowed the lawn and after said, "I must be getting old. I'm wearing balck church socks with my running shoes!"

The kids played a game of tackle football. Benny likes to pretend that he gets hurt and makes the girls or Bryan check out his injury. He has seen Bryan fix injuries as the team doctor for a high school football team and also Notre Dame's rugby team. They get the giggles when they play this! Looks like Benny is the doctor now...
We had lots of time to play the Ipad, and lots of time to fight over who's turn it was!
We had a few wrestling matches.
And the kids found some old Valentine's balloons that I never used, so they came up with the idea to blow them up with the bike pump. Pretty inventive!
Notice Chloe plugging her ears in case it pops. Even Mabel enjoyed some R and R this weekend. I love it when she just lays around and doesn't cause trouble! :) We love her.
I feel refreshed and motivated again after listening to conference. I felt like all of the talks were very encouraging. I loved it. I love President Monson. He makes me laugh. I can't wait to read the talks in the Ensign next month!


If you are not a member of our church and would like to hear the talks from conference go hear. You can also read more about our beliefs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just Me and The Boy

Since both girls are in school these days, Bennett and I have lots of one on one time! I just LOVE it. Sometimes I feel like he doesn't get the attention he needs, being the third child. It has been great to just hang out with him and play cars, baseball, or football together. At first he couldn't figure out where 'the girls' went. Now, I think he likes having the house and mom all to himself!
I am really excited for Halloween this year. I think I enjoy it more than I like to admit. :) We have been decorating the house and figuring out the kids' costumes. Yesterday, I was trying to hang some spooky fabric up in our front window and I fell off the little end table (I stepped on the side of it and it's not very stable. Duh.) and hurt my ankle and butt pretty bad. I laid on the floor for a few minutes thinking I had broken my ankle because it hurt so bad. The girls came to my rescue, but Niah started crying first because it scared her so much. Today, I am pretty bruised and sore. Then, after that, I was cooking a nice dinner because we invited some friends over to eat with us, and I spilled a whole box of noodles all over the floor. I'm not sure what has happened to my brain these days. I hope it comes back soon.




Life is busy right now and most days I feel overwhelmed with all that there is to do, but I have really been loving my kids and the phases they are in right now. Life goes so fast. I want to freeze time!





Here we are at the top of Niah's castle!

Here's Niah and her best friend Addi playing in the dirt!

Bryan's favorite things:

  • BYU Football
  • Pandora.com
  • Surfing the Internet
  • Mountain Biking
  • Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
  • Kayaking

Natalie's Favorite Things

  • Naps
  • Blogging
  • Cooking
  • Going on dates with Bryan
  • Reading good books
  • Being a mom

Niah's Favorite Things

  • Hannah Montana
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • High School Musical
  • Reading books with her dad
  • Singing
  • Disney Princesses
  • Playing outside with her friends

Chloe's Favorite Things

  • Being outside
  • Her binki
  • Bananas
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Playing with Niah
  • Taking a bath