Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

I am saving some paper this year and just posting my Christmas letter! Of course, I did send out cards so I guess that negates it, doesn't it? (By the way, I am aware that I made a grammatical error on my Christmas cards, for those that noticed... ha!)

This year has been an eventful one for our family. We started out the year in Sierra Vista, Arizona and moved back into our old house in Clearfield, Utah in April since Blake was deploying. Blake had training in Kansas for three months and then shipped out to Iraq for a year on August 1st. We all miss him like crazy. The whole dynamic of the family is so different with him gone. We are counting down the days until he will be home... as of today, it is 225 days left. (Yes, we are LITERALLY counting down the days!)

Logan is still as energetic as ever! I don't know where he gets all his energy from; it certainly isn't me! He is always getting into mischief, but when he gets caught is very repentant and says "Ok, Mom. I will not ever do that again." He is really at his best when I let him be a helper. He wants to get everything just right and tries to act very adult about it. He has been participating in tumbling and karate for most of the year. Karate was a tough change for him at first and for the first six weeks, I was wondering if it was wise to put him in there, but he has risen to the challenge well. He is currently an orange belt and will be testing for his blue belt at the beginning of the year. He just started preschool this month and is loving it!

Reagan, like Logan, can't stop moving. I am pretty sure she has restless-limb syndrome. It is funny to see her in church, sitting so quietly, except for her legs which are going every which way. (I swear, it is like her legs are independent from the rest of her body!) It is interesting to see how much faster girls develop than boys. She is already going to Logan's preschool, even though she missed the age cut-off by a month, and she is loving it. She is also in dance and karate and likes both though dance is where she really seems in her element. She shows up eager and excited and leaves happy and with a smile. She talks so well and gets concepts so fast that it startles me sometimes and she often asks questions about things that make me stop and wonder "How old ARE you?!" She is developing WAY too fast for me! She is even starting to adopt her little attitude now too and I am learning to deal with that one... it is like having a miniature teenager in the house!

Chase is my little momma's boy. He has always been my best hugger from the time he was a little baby and still gives big hugs to any who ask him for it. He loves trains and carries one with him almost constantly. He is not ready for the same activities his siblings are in (again, so interesting to see the developmental difference between girls and boys when you have girl/boy twins!) and so just the two of us hang-out quite a bit. I am starting to actually be able to understand 70% of what he says now and he is becoming quite a chatter-box. Chase is constantly trying to sit on my lap and demand my full attention so he can tell me about a truck, or train, or a social injustice that he feels isn't being addressed (usually involving his siblings). When he is really angry, he yells "I am going TIMEOUT!" I try really hard not to crack up at that. He is loving this Christmas season since he has an obsession with bells and tries to take them off of every decoration he can get his hands on. You will usually find him dawdling behind our little group staring at some object he finds fascinating and not paying attention to anything else.

Blake is stuck in a little camp in the middle of the desert on the Iraq/Iran border called Camp Minden. Right now is the rainy season and it is making all the sand and tents and muddy, dirty mess. He says that his OCD is taking quite a beating there and I can imagine that is true! I am sure he will have many stories when he returns. He says that he is really appreciative of all the support of his friends and family and we both have been really touched at the outpouring of support we have seen for him! Thank you!

I have been trying learn how to balance everything at home and not go crazy. I have a profound respect for single parents now... and I don't have to worry about the financial aspect. I have come to really understand the concepts of "not enough hours in a day" and "bone-tired." I have been able to do a few things on my own agenda though, which has been nice. I have been wanting to take up piano for some time now and, starting in September, I have been able to do that. We have a Christmas recital tomorrow that I am anxious about. AAAHHHHHH!!!! I have also began applying for Masters' programs to start school next year! It seems forever since I have been a student and I wonder if my brain still functions.

Our dogs, for those you who care, are nine and eight-years-old now! Time sure flies! We found out this year that Marley is going blind in one eye and last year she had cancer! I hope that this doesn't become a pattern for her, poor baby! She is coping quite well with the problem though and is just a little more clingy than she usually was. Maddie is doing well and still wants to act like a puppy and chase balls all day even though her knees won't support it. They spend most of their days sleeping like yen and yang on the dog bed. It has been nice having them while Blake is gone because, even though they are small, I know that they'd bark if the strange noises in the house were anything to worry about, lol.

It has been a challenging year for our family, but we have also grown so much (especially the kids). I am always astonished at how much they grow and how rapidly they develop everyday. The next year will provide new changes as well. Blake will be here to visit for two weeks in March and then will be home in August. Of course, home will be moving then and we will be around Kansas and Arizona until the beginning of the following year. Then in March 2011 we will be off to Germany! Life is an adventure! Hope all of you are having a Merry Christmas! We think of all of you often and keep you in our thoughts and prayers.


The Botill Family

Blake, Diane, Logan, Chase and Reagan

AND Maddie and Marley

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reagan and Logan's Christmas Program

Reagan and Logan both go to Syracuse Dance Academy. Logan for tumbling and Reagan for dance... just so you know that I am not forcing Logan to take dance! They had their Christmas "demonstration." They are just showing what they can do so far this year. Reagan's was really cute. I got such a kick out of it. You can tell that Logan is just so excited to be able to run and jump around without getting in trouble for it. Hahahaha!

Friday, December 11, 2009

My BIG Girl...

My little three-year-old girl, Reagan, has just been growing by leaps and bounds lately. Is it incredible, by the way, how much more mature girls are than boys! She has been doing really well in her dance class and has been wanting to go into karate for sometime now. I have been reluctant, because (besides the cost!) karate demands a lot and I didn't know if Reagan could handle it. Well, a good and bad thing happened: Logan got a new karate teacher. His old teacher was perfect for Logan... didn't let him get away with anything and pushed him to get better. Logan needs that. This new teacher is quite young and is just learning (which we all have to do at some point, right?) and lets him get away with a lot more. His style is perfect for Reagan, though, since she needs more gentle guidance. So I finally signed her up and she was so stinkin' cute!!! She followed instruction so well and loved it!

She was also accepted into preschool even though her birthday is the 23rd of September and the cut-off is the 1st. I, FINALLY, found an awesome preschool for her and Logan. Her teacher says she is doing wonderfully, despite her being so young. I have been paranoid that I might be stressing her out and been watching her like a hawk, but she does it all with such excitement. I am so proud of her!

Side note: Ok, I know some of you are going to laugh at me for saying this, but I have to.... I hate Reagan's hair in these pictures... I went last week to get her hair cut and asked for an a-line bob that was stacked in the back. (I like having a good quality style cut for her, since she is rarely able to keep anything in her hair for very long.) Instead, the lady did this choppy, knarly looking haircut. It was like she didn't even bother making the stacked back either... it is just some choppy layers. Ggggrrrr! (You laugh, but even some of my friends admitted that this was a badly done haircut.) I'm going to get it fixed tomorrow!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Logan Turns Five!

I can't believe my little man turned five! No stopping the clock apparently; no matter how hard I try! This lucky kid had three birthday parties though. Yep, three! He had the first one with two of his cousins on Blake's side of the family during our usual Sunday dinner and had the next one with my side the day before Thanksgiving since my brother's family was with us at my parent's house. We made homemade mini pizzas and had a bonfire afterward. (My mom is a closet pyro and will take any opportunity she can of lighting something on fire... legally, of course.) The last one he had with his friends at Classic Skate, which has video games, bowling, skating, 3 blow-up castles, 3 blow-up slides and this huge pirate's cove climbing/slide/ropes/obstacle course... in short, a lot of things to get kids exhausted!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We're Famous!

Ok, not really, but my friend from up in Honeyville has been starting her photography business and she is really talented! Anyway, I gave her the daunting task of taking pictures of my three crazy kids who don't stand still for ANYTHING, let alone a professional picture. Chase is the worst; as soon as you sit him down for the picture, he is up and running. That is ok, since I didn't want them super posed anyway. Some of the pictures she took are up on her website now. Chase is the first one on her main page and there are some more under her portfolio. Thank you Brandy!
(By the way, check out her prices! She charges $100 for a family and $75 for just the kids and just gives you a CD of the prints!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our First Play!

A local kids' museum here, called the Treehouse puts on plays during the winter and for a season pass for a family only cost $25. The great thing is, this is considered educational theater, which means that part of the experience is teaching kids how to act during a play. I think that is just great!!!

Logan was so caught up in the moment when Goldilocks laid down in Baby Bear's bed, he yelled at Goldilocks "Hey, you can't do that! That's Baby Bear's Bed!" I quickly clapped my had over his mouth while the audience laughed. Crazy little guy! Can't say he didn't enjoy himself....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Logan Earned His Orange Belt

We are so proud of our Logan! He earned his orange belt last week and recieved it yesterday! He works hard for it, so we are excited for him!!! Congrats Logan!!!!

Halloween 2009

Well, I can actually say that I feel like we got our money's worth out of our costumes this year. We had a Peter Pan theme this year and the kiddos loved it. I start searching for costumes months ahead of time. I have to prepare them way ahead of time to bribe them into wearing my theme. We watch the movie, talk about how cool it is. "Does Captain Hook have an awesome hook and sword?" Etc. We went to, at least, half a dozen Halloween parties and we even won best costumes at the Dinosaur Park party (as a combined group)! We had a lot of fun and the kids still want to dress up in their Peter Pan costumes. I LOVE HALLOWEEN! (Can you tell?)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Twins Turned Three!

Ok, so I am a little late posting this, but I can't believe my little babies are three years old!! They are so big and independent now! It is crazy when they get little minds of their own, isn't it?! These pictures were taken on their birthday at the end of September in my grandmother's garden in Southern California.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reagan's "Big Girl" Dance Class

Tuesday Reagan started her "Big Girl" dance class. We have been going to a Mom & Me one since April, but now she got to go to a 3-5 year old class without Mommy. She was in heaven the entire 45 minutes. Of course, she did cut a hole in her brand new dance clothes before we walked out the door. Go figure.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

At This Moment, All Is Right With The World

BYU beat Oklahoma tonight 14-13!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was a beautiful moment in BYU football history. Blake said he woke up at 2:30am to watch the game and he called me three times during it. The second time he called was when it looked pretty certain we were going to win. I just picked up and yelled "Holy Crap!" into the phone. He was ecstatic! My brother Matt and my parents were at the game (JEALOUS!!!) and my brother Aaron was monitoring the game from his computer. So between the four of us there was a lot of calls with screaming, weeping and celebration! What a victory!

In the words of my brother Aaron, "At this moment, all is right with the world..." Blake, these videos are for you baby. Here is your moment of zen....

(My favorite part is when Chase starts spacing out and eating the BYU flag.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Logan's Yellow Belt Ceremony

Well, I have been slacking for a while, but now I intend to get back on the ball. Anyway, today we had a great time at Logan's Yellow Belt Ceremony for karate. He started about three months ago and struggled at first. I was very worried whether it was too early to put him in since the program is very demanding, so this may just be the lowest belt but it is a hard-earned one! We have practiced at home quite a bit and he has really improved his focus. He still spaces out often, though I believe he inherited that from me. so I can't complain about that....

I am really proud of how far he has come in these past three months. Way to go Logan!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Here They Are....

My niece and nephew, Tyler and Brittany, were staying with me for two days and we decided to post what we did for the time they were here in their own words. So here they are: Brittany covered Monday and Tyler took Tuesday. Enjoy!

Chase's Reward By Tyler Botill

What's up people who own computers. This is Tyler writing about our trip to Salt Lake. The whole reason for this was because Chase filled up his bean jar. If you don't know what the bean jar is about, it's like their rewards jar. They get beans if they're good and lose them if they're bad. When they fill up their jars they get a reward. So Chase's reward was to ride on the trains! We again had the buddy system. I was Logan's buddy(most of the time) Brittany was, again, with her Mini-Me(a.k.a. Reagan) and Chase was with me and our Aunt (well Chase's mom but my aunt). But we couldn't just ride trains all day. So after we got off the trains we took a trip to Clark Planetarium! And let me tell you that was cool! First thing we did there was went and saw a cool IMAX movie.....IN 3-D! It was an awesome movie about Bugs. Then we were gonna see another movie at this cool place in there called The Dome Theater. But the movie wasn't till 12:30 so we had to do something while waiting. So we looked around and found some really cool landscape things that looked like the surface of the Moon and Mars. We acted like there was Zero Gravity there and pretended to space jump(as seen in the pictures). Then we found another cool thing. It was a Weather men's Broadcast Station. We all pretended to be weathermen(and weather women). After playing over there for about 20 minutes, we still had time to SPARE!!!! So we found this really cool Ball Machine. It was like a factory, a very mini and cool factory. After looking at that for about 10 minutes(more since Chase and Logan didn't want to leave the Ball Factory) we watched the movie. It was pretty cool. But after that everyone was pooped and ready to go home. So we took the train home and took a long nap. It was a pretty awesome day!


Brittany and her Mini-Me travel to MARS!!!!
Mini Spaceman Logan

The Twin Martians!!!

Reagan's reward by Brittany Botill

it's very hard to push two kids at the same time

This is my first time doing this so i may be kinda bad. We went to Dinosaur park because Reagan filled up her bean jar. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We had buddy's again i had my mini-me, Tyler at first, Logan wanted to be his buddy but sometimes he was Chase's buddy but chase's buddy was mostly our aunt diane's buddy. There was a lot of bones, it was really cool. They had some skeletons of dinos. Every time we went to a different thing Reagan would always say WOW ,it was funny but after a while it got old. Reagan chose to go here, and there was a T-Rex that made noises and she was scared of it. Whenever it made noises she would cry. We got to pretend to be paleontologist. Then we fed the birds and fishes there was also segulls and they always ate the fishy food so I always throw one really far and the segulls would chase it then i would drop some for the fishy's and duck's. When we had to leave to go to the park chase was really upset. I put Reagan in one swing and Chase in the othere and I pushed chase then pushed reagan. Tyler was playing with logan. Logan was a little ball of energy. He would go from one thing to another so he was disappointed to leave. But when he figured out we were going to get pizza and ice cream at cold stone so he was all better.Reagan filled up her bean jar again and we went to the book store and Reagan got a tinker bell book. I say it was a fun day!

he's happy with his work

Logan is pushing Tyler off by holding on him

giddy up dino


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Northern Cali - Day Five

The last day was spent visiting with Blake's dad and grandmother in Gilroy. Blake's dad took us out to Famous Dave's (which we live next to, but ironically, I have never been to). Even though it was raining, we sent out for Gilroy Gardens which is, I kid you not, a botanically-themed amusement park. Of course, there was a train and that was all Chase wanted to do for the whole time. Since it was raining we got to most of the rides in the park in about three hours. I hate lines, so this made me VERY happy! The park was actually very cool, there were a ton of rides for the little kids and a few for the big ones! Brittany and Tyler were very patient with all the little kid stuff we did. Actually Tyler and Brittany were amazing in general... absolutely golden. I would take them anywhere, anytime! They were a huge help with all the little ones and had such a great attitude at all times. Thank you Tyler and Brittany!

Northern Cali - Day Four

We went to the Aquarium early in the morning the lines to get in were massive. Four small kids in crowds full of people were hard to keep track of, but Brittany and Tyler were a HUGE help! Seriously, I don't know if I could have done it without them. We each had a buddy. Tyler was with Logan, Brittany with Reagan (which she called her "Mini-me", I swear they look like sisters), Blake with Chase and I was with Emma. Their displays were so impressive. It is so much bigger than when I was a kid. The younger kids were tired by one o'clock, so I took Logan, Reagan and Chase back to the hotel for a nap... I needed one too! Blake stayed with Brittany, Tyler and Emma and looked at more of the Aquarium and took them to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop. When my half of the kids woke up, we all met up on a small beach on Cannery Row. Chase ran after birds, Tyler and Brittany pushed each other into the waves, and Reagan fell into the water (of course).

Logan and his friend.

Tyler and Emma

Brittany and her Mini-Me

These kids take so many better pictures than mine! Jealous!