Sunday, December 28, 2008

just another day of vacation...

Today after church we went out for lunch, Maddie gave the meal a "thumbs up"! Then we went to the movies to see The Tale of Desperaux. It was a really cute movie. Caleb had a hard time sitting still but he made it with a little help from some candy and a bit of popcorn! After the movie we went to the Bittle's and hung out and had dinner. What a perfectly fun and completely relaxing day.
I am beginning to like this vacation thing. I don't want it to end!! I love hanging out with our family when we have none of the pressures of everyday life. I wish we could somehow maintain this relaxed feeling in our home even on those "everyday life" days when we are running around from here to there and in a hurry and can't find the socks and forgetting the backpack....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Snow Day

Yesterday we went 11 miles down a logging road to get to a good sledding spot. The park across the street is possibly a bit more my speed but doing a big trek like this once a winter is definitely FUN! There was a fire and lots of friends... A few times I even forgot that my feet were frozen :)

Of course the trip would not have been complete without some pictures...

Mikayla caught snowflakes on her eyelashes...can you see them??

(The one that looks like it's on her lip is actually suspended in air,

falling from the sky)

Mailee had two big sledding spills early on and after that she was quite satisfied hanging out with me, watching the sledders.

Maddie was gung-ho. She kept going till the end.

Caleb had a good time, too. I offered to go with him at one point and he turned me down to go with Aunty Tammy. Go figure :) She is one FUN Aunty!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to everyone. We pray you had a fantastic day with your family and friends. We love and miss all of our special people down in the States.

When you have 4 kids in a picture, it is a little hard to get 8 opened eyes and 4 nice smiles... I'll settle for 6 opened eyes and 4 nice smiles!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Latest

Mikayla did a fantastic job as the Angel Narrator in the school's Christmas production.
I was so pleased (as I am every year) to hear my kids singing about Jesus at school!
We are so blessed that Christ is accepted and focused on in their school.
One video is a little hard to see...but it is her "big part" , the other one is a good feel for the whole one video would just not do!

Here is an updated photo of that baby bump. The kids are super excited about a new baby. We can not agree on a name but I'm sure we will figure it out!

Thanks Mom for the awesome dress/top!

We are officially on "vacation" right school or obligations! I'm so excited for all the Christmas festivities. We most look forward to Christmas Eve, watching the kids open gifts and stockings on Chrsitmas morning and skating with the whole Banman family up at Big White the day after Christmas.

Here is a photo of our crew:)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

So Busy

Today we enjoyed a Christmas production at church, walked thru Art Knapp's, and relaxed at home the rest of the day. We iced some gingerbread cookies tonight too. Today was fun and relaxing family time, it was great!!

But I don't feel relaxed...I have realised that anything else that I want to send to my American family or friends will now officially be late from this point forward and that those Chirstmas cards that I have not started will probably not be happening till the new year. How did our life get so busy? How do I slow down when all of the things we are doing seem manditory? How do I make every moment count with the kids when I feel spread so thin?

I want to focus on relationships and enjoying these moments together but I can't let go of all the fun things that are calling my name! How do I say "NO" to costumes for school plays and cookies for this party and appies for that function? I love it all, I just wish it wasn't all smooshed into one month! Perhaps I'll throw my fabulous Chirstmas party in July...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trip to Portland...Just Two of Us!!

Mika and I had a chance to go away together this past weekend. It was so great, 48 hours seems like a lot longer with no kids!!! Our family in Kelowna made sure our kids needed to get everywhere they had to be and I am so thankful! If you click on the picture you can see the rest of the photos with descriptions. This time of year, I just can't sit here and type out clever sorry!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

First Ballet Show

Maddie had her first ballet show last weekend. Here she is and if you would like to see more, click on the image!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday. How do you properly honor your own mother in a single little post? My mom gave me life and attentively, sportively, interactively, willingly raised me and embraced every stage, every challenge. She took me to church faithfully two times (or more) a week, painted my room sea foam with a peach flamingo border when I felt that was the way to go, loved me when I was a teenage brat, stayed up with me and listened to hours of English papers over the phone while I was away at college, created and continues to fuel the fire within me for crafts and parties...(have you heard about our "craft closet" growing up? It was the best!!) How do I ever communicate to her or anyone the magnitude of warm fuzzy feelings I have toward my mom???

And now I have the privilege of seeing through her eyes the amount of love, care, concern and involvement that a Mother feels for her children. I have the honor of feeling the regret of the rude things I may have said through a few selfish years, and the pleasure of being at a place where her wisdom is now more readily accepted and welcomed...(it is so much easier this way, I hope my daughters figure it out sooner than I did :)

ANYWAYS.... Mom, you are so special to me. I am thankful for your empathy, your kindness, your glass-always-half-full attitude, your positive example in your friendships and your faithfulness in your commitments over the years, to AWANA, to the D school, to 3rd grade Sunday school, to my family... You are reliable and trustworthy and caring. I love you so much and I am so thankful for you and the very important role you have played and continue to play in my life.

Happy Birthday, I love you!

And now, some photos!!!!

Special Memories!

9 years ago today, you held your 3 day old first grandchild!!

4 generations...

Taking Mikayla to her first "show" Sesame Street LIVE...

you always think of fun and different things for the kids :)

So many great memories growing up going to the 4th of July picnic at Lamonica (and then Buchanan)

The kids feel so supported and loved by you!

I just love this's a good one!

Another good one I couldn't pass up...

Now this is dedication; writing postcards to us from the Eiffel tower AND snapping a photo to prove it! I still have the letters you sent every day to Hume Lake camp...that was so special!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mikayla's Baking Party

Our oldest girl turns 9 tomorrow. Today we celebrated her with a fun baking party. If you click the picture below it will take you to the album!!

Mikayla chose this theme over a year ago. She was very involved in a lot of the decisions which was fun and also a good challenge for me who happens to be a little bit on the controlling side...okay, a lot on the controlling side! The girls were able to do a lot on their own and it was really fun to see all their own creativity come out! That makes me so happy!! Mikayla is growing up so fast. I love my beautiful, responsible, intelligent, intense big girl!! Stay tuned for pics of her "real day" tomorrow. Tonight I am DONE and off to bed!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bum Burping

Caleb is well on his way to being potty trained- Yipee!! Every new stage that our boy comes to is familiar as we have done it all 3 times before him but it is also drastically different. It is so fun to see the world through the eyes of a little boy this time!! Potty training differences have been funny; we can't say "panties" anymore, the pee goes EVERYWHERE, he feels the need to take everything off when ever he is in the bathroom, and did I mention the pee goes EVERYWHERE?

As Caleb is becoming more aware of his body and all the cool things he can do with it, he likes to inform us. The other day he farted and I asked if he needed to go potty. He shook his head and simply replied "No, me just burpin' out me bum"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dad turns 60!

In two weeks Mike's Dad turns 60. Terri and Matt are going to Dominican Republic for two weeks so we celebrated early. We went to an awesome restaurant and had a really nice dinner. It was all family and we still took up half of the place! It was a great night!

The kids made a book for Grandpa and they read their messages out loud.


Happy Birthday Grandpa!! Can we help you eat that now?

Basketball in Kamloops

After the birthday party, the family packed up and drove to Kamloops to watch Brian play basketball. Mike and Caleb and Mike's dad have been driving to Vancouver almost every weekend of the season to support Brian. This is his last year playing and the guys do not want to miss out! The 2 hour drive to Kamloops as opposed to the 4 hour drive to Vancouver made it possible for EVERYONE to come!

The FAM at the game :) Everyone is here...that's harder to do these days! We should just make this the Christmas card!!

The "other team's" mascot was quite friendly! Caleb was terrified of him.

Maddie is our videographer! She loves to videotape.
Terri captured this adorable picture that is SO Maddie!

The team

Brian shooting. He was the leading scorer, we were so proud!

Brian's team, the Trinity Western Spartans (where I went to college, too :) won the game.

Oh- exciting news- the other team even had cheerleaders!! I would say they rivaled a mediocre high school squad in the US but I was glad to see them there and in their defense, they were swimming up stream trying to excite an un-excitable crowd, er, country. I love Canada but the majority are lacking any passion for sporting events. At least the events I have attended... Perhaps they save their enthusiasm for hockey?

Party Time

Saturday was my cute nephew's 4th birthday. Tammy threw him an adorable beach themed birthday. The kids fished for prizes, played pin the surfer on the wave, dug for treasures in sand and ate the cutest lunch ever.

Living in the same town as all of Mike's siblings and watching our kids grow up with their special cousins and enjoying times like these makes me so thankful that we live here!

Tammy made a "scuba guy" cake...Ethan's special request!

Maddie and Caleb watching Ethan open their gift.

An octopus on a bed of shells for lunch!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Growing Up So Fast!!

I forgot to mention a big event in Banman Land...Maddie lost her second tooth! Kinda sad how the milestones that are such a huge deal with the first child get lost amongst the busyness with the second, third, fourth... At any rate, Maddie is thrilled with the "big hole" in her mouth and the shiny looney in her wallet (American translation: tooney= $2 coin).
I am once again struck with how quickly our children are growing up! Maddie has no evidence of "baby" left behind, she is all big girl. Part of me wants time to stand still so I can always have little tiny cute people around that need me but another larger, more realistic part of me can't wait to see all the stages to come!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Missing Boy

The other night Mike went in to turn the kids' night lights off and this was the scene...

Missing boy...where is Caleb? We tucked him in at bedtime in his bed but he's gone!?

Found Boy! looks like he just needed a little extra comfort! He tucked himself in with his biggest sister! She does not seem to mind at all :)


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Family Wedding

We just got home today from an awesome week in Minnesota. Why Minnesota?? Because that is where my brother Eric's new wife Sarah is from and this past weekend they were married in this beautiful setting in downtown Minneapolis' Como Park Conservatory.
Click on this picture to see the entire album on Facebook :)

This trip was our first opportunity to meet Sarah because she is also in the US Air Force over in Germany. It was great to get to know her and see them interact as a couple. I am so glad they decided to get married in the States so that we could be a part of their day and also meet her and her family!!

One of the highlights for me was that my little guy was the ring bearer! He was so cute in his little vest. Here he is looking a little nervous as he gets his boutonniere pinned on.

Here he is in action...and Mike too, as the best man!

We did a lot of other fun things while in Minnesota. Our hotel was really close to the Mall of America which was a dream come true for me, a worst nightmare for Mike (and Caleb). The boys were troopers though and we managed to meet in the middle with some shopping and some "other" fun; trick or treating, roller coasters, mini golf, aquarium, movies, swimming...

Click on the picture to see the whole album!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mailee's Joyful Celebration

click on picture to see the album of party photos!!

Birthdays are such a great time to reflect on a person and what they mean to you! Today was Mailee's 7th birthday. We had a big All American Cheerleader party for her. She was completely in her element cheering away with a smile from ear to ear. It got me thinking how appropriate that party theme was for her and also how well her middle name (Joy) describes her. Mailee is the cheerleader in our crew. She is happy and cheerful and encouraging. She is always excited for others and she bounds through life feeling glad!

When Mailee was opening her gifts, it struck me that she has a thankful heart as she was genuinely thrilled with each gift and took the time to stop and thank each friend before she moved on to the next gift. She spent minutes just reading the cards, she savors every moment in life!

I am so proud of the sweet and precious girl that Mailee has grown into. Three years ago at Mailee's 4th birthday, she barely spoke two words the entire day! She was so painfully shy. She has grown into a social girl and has chosen some really sweet friends. I love my little Mailee Mai so much. She is such a gift of JOY!

Here's a video of Mailee and her friends performing a cheer!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Few Randoms

I stole this photos off of my sister's Facebook album to share with all of you :) I guess that kind of makes me like Robin Hood, stealing something just to share it....although that would have to mean that you, the readers, are lacking photographs to look at...ha ha, there goes that analogy!

How sweet!

Wow, big family!

This is the day after Mailee's eye got "bonked" on the's not too bad at this point...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

For the last two weekends we have enjoyed the fun at a farm about 45 minutes out of town. It was so great last weekend, we came back for more! The weather was so beautiful today.
Check out that sky!!
Here are some highlights...
An update on Mailee's eye: here she is today, happy as ever. Her eye keeps changing colors! She has gotten a lot of attention! Next weekend is her birthday. I have a feeling she will not be 100% free of the black eye by then...

Mikayla and me enjoying a very cool place!

Caleb...digging. Some things never change :) I really like this picture!

Auntie Terri suggested that they make silly cute! Terri took lots of photos with her awesome camera, can't wait to see them!!!