Thursday, December 27, 2007

How do I keep up with Morningstar Happenings?

If you're relatively new to reading blogs, you may wonder how you can keep up with new posts on this blog. Good question! We write these posts because we want to keep in touch, so we definitely want you to know when there is a new article to read.

If you use a Google homepage, it's very easy to add this blog to your hopepage - just click on this button! Add to Google

You can also add this blog to your Yahoo homepage, if you prefer, by clicking on: Add to My Yahoo!

Yahoo also has a nice new feature where you can create an alert that will be emailed, IMed, or texted on your mobile phone to you whenever there's a new post. Create an alert

If you use a different RSS feed reader, then you probably don't need this little article at all :) The RSS feed is available at

Also, I'll post some of the articles on this blog to the email list, so if you're not currently on the list feel free to leave a comment and I'll add you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas come and gone

Ok, so the title of this post isn't really right - Christmas is *anything* but gone in the Morningstar home. The tree will likely be up for several more weeks, since we got it only a week before Christmas (I was serious when i said we were behind!) and the living room is still strewn with wrapping paper and Lego sets still to be assembled.

We had a *great* Christmas this year, and one of our healthiest yet - why do we always get sick on Christmas day?!? Sam got a bit of a tummy bug (yuck), which, in the spirit of the holidays, he gave to Steve and me and we are now currently fighting. But the day passed without an emergency trip to the pharmacist, so we'll call it a reasonably healthy Christmas.

The day started... early. The rule was that Sam couldn't wake us up until 6:30 and he very graciously let us sleep until 6:38 (he mentioned this several times throughout the day, I think that he was very impressed with his own generosity). So, yes, it's dark outside for many of our photos. That's because *the sun wasn't up yet*. I guess that's just how Christmas goes with excited little guys.

Actually, besides the hour and lack of daylight, the morning was my favorite part of the day. Usually, Steve reads the Christmas Story and the boys act it out with the stuffed nativity set that Gramma made when Sam was an itty bitty. Well, this year Sam decided that he was old enough to read the story, so he read the entire Christmas story out of Luke 2 from his own Bible while Ben and Daddy acted it out. He read all the way up to Jesus being presented at the temple and then Daddy took over for the part with the wise men - he was such a great reader! As usual, the story was embellished with a few shepherd vs. wise man fights, and Ben got a little carried away with the flashlight in his part as "the glory of the Lord" but over all I think it was one of our more peaceable readings.

It's always hard to pick out favorite gifts, but the ones that drew the most attention were definitely Steve's Star Wars Popup Guide to the Galaxy (this is seriously the coolest book of all time) and Ben's gift of candy for Steve (Reese's cups, Dark Chocolate M&M's, etc, which Ben promptly began consuming as part of showing Daddy how to "share" his gifts). Both boys got to go on a treasure hunt for a gift, which was was quite the adventure, and the video games abounded with Ben the Lego Star Wars Complete Saga for the 360 and Sam receiving Viva Pinata Party Animals for the Wii. Oh, and don't worry about Daddy, he also got several titles to add to his collection. Ben got me a tin of "special cookies" because "I'm so special," which was really cute and Sam picked out a new fountain pen for me because he knows that I write a lot. And, of course, this year's tie dye theme was Mickey shirts, which left me with *very* green hands that I tried (unsuccessfully) to pass off as festive.

And we had *no* problem surpassing last year's grand total of almost 4,000 Legos - this year between the boys we hit 5,633 Legos divided between 12 sets! Yes, we (most notably the grandparents) are keeping those Danes in business. It's right now 7 pm on the 26th and we've assembled all but the 3 biggest sets. Yes, my fingers hurt.

We finished all of the opening before noon this year, I think, which is also a record. We like to take it easy on Christmas morning, opening one gift at a time and enjoying each one as it's being unwrapped. This year we did present opening in three waves, stopping to assemble Legos (Sam) and play Lego Star Wars (Ben) because how can you open all of those great gifts and not take time to play with them?!?

Hope your Christmas was as sweet and memorable and just plain fun as ours was - all the best to you and yours!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Let it snow!

It's definitely winter in Utah! We have actually had a rather slow start to the ski year. Steve and Sam made it up to Brighton before we left for Disney, but there were just a few runs open (and Sam did *awesome*) and we're only just getting enough snow now to make skiing really fun.

Sam has early-out days on Mondays, so Steve is planning to take him up to Sundance on Monday afternoons to play around. Sam's skiing is really improving, and he's now able to go down the blues without a problem. We bought him his own skis and boots this year, so hopefully he won't wear them out and Ben will be able to use them in a few seasons. Sam can't get enough of the slopes - I think he'd go up every day if Mom and Dad had the time and energy.

Steve and I hit Alta last week and had a lovely ski day, although conditions will be a lot better all around after this week's set of storms. Oh, and Steve's instructing up at Sundance again this year and enjoying it just as much as last year. I'll see if I can snap a photo of him in his uniform, looking all professional :) Let it snow!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The happiest place on earth

So, we just got home from 9 days in Disney World! Ok, that's not technically true. We've been home since December 5th, but it's taken me a little while to catch up on... well... everything and I'm just now catching everybody else up!

We had truly and extraordinary time at Disney World - it was an amazing trip for everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean basically everyone we're related to - our two sets of parents, my grandfather, and Steve's two sisters with their husbands and a niece! 14 people and 4 generations - now that's not a trip you have the chance to take every day.

We stayed on-property at the Pop Century hotel, and it was so nice to take Disney transportation everywhere and not have to worry about driving. We hit a great time of year because it's not super-hot and the crowds are minimal, plus everything's decorated for Christmas, which is so cool! Even though it was downright cool by Florida standards, our kids still had to adjust to the "heat" and humidity. As soon as we walked off of the plane, Sam turned to us with complete disgust on his face and gasped, "What's wrong with the air here?!?" Obviously he's gotten used to the nice dry Utah air in the last 6 years. Sam never did get over the fact that "it felt like he was made of clay," but on the up side it made his hair super-adorably curly.

In 9 days we hit all of the parks (of course), Blizzard Beach (a water park), and 4 golf games on 3 mini golf courses (Sam was *really* into mini golf). And with really short lines, for the most part, we got to do *everything*. We did all of the roller coasters - Sam and Ben loved Big Thunder Mountain and Sam got to ride Expedition Everest and Space Mountain. The only one he was too short for was the Rockin Rollercoaster, which is great since he *loves* roller coasters and would have been disappointed if he didn't get to ride most of them. The boys also went bananas for Test Track at Epcot, which is sort of a roller coaster I guess.

Both boys went on the Tower of Terror. I was surprised that Ben agreed to go on it, but he was a total champ and didn't freak out in the least. Sam thought it was the coolest thing on earth, but Ben merely looked at me after it was over and said "I'm never, never doing that again." Oh well, at least he tried.

Ben's big thing, beside the carousel (which he rode as often as possible. He chose an armored horse, which he named "Chainy" since it had a mace thingie on it), was pin trading. His aunt and uncle bought him a pin lanyard and a few pins to start with and then Mommy and Daddy augmented it with several copies of our Grand Gatherings pins (we did a few bigger group things that you had to pre-register for, like going out on the lagoon in a pirate ship to watch the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom. They were really cool outings, and we each got pins to commemorate the experience). Lots of the "cast members" (employees) at Disney World wear pins and you can go up to any of them and trade pins, which Ben thought was the best. He ended up with *lots* of Pirates and Stitch pins... he's going to be a pin trading pro by the 2010 Olympics!

It's hard to say what the best part of the trip was. Honestly, as cliched as it sounds, I really loved hanging out with our families for such fun, extended time. The mini golf was really fun, too... I love mini golf. It was really cool always having 5 or 6 (or 14) people to hang out with. It was also really fun to celebrate Steve's 30th birthday, Susie's 33rd, and Poppop's 79th as one big family. That's a pretty special chance to have.

Ben is still analyzing what makes Disney "so magical." I think that his thinking is currently tied between it being magical because it never closes (it sure does feel that way!) and because the cartoon characters are really alive there. Actually, that lead to a bit of a family controversy because we always stress that what's on TV, especially on cartoons, isn't real. But the other day, Ben turned to us and said "Woah, woah, woah. Cartoons must be real because we saw them at Disney!" We did counter with the "Did you notice that none of the characters at Disney talked?" and he decided that was because they all had their tongues cut out. I'm not sure how that's less disturbing to the child than people dressed up inside the costumes, but whatever.

Anyway, I could go on *forever* about our adventures and fun at Disney. It was a great trip, one we'll all remember for a long time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ben is a crack-up

Ben, if you didn't know, is basically the silliest kid on the face of the earth. He has two new retorts when we say something crazy (which is a fairly regular occurrence):
"What are you, cuckoo banana salad or something?"
and "What are you, full of loon juice?"

The loon juice one originally came home with Sam from school, apparently it's something that his teacher says a lot, but Ben has taken the phrase to new levels.

And my personal favorite is Ben's new statement of frustration, used in cases such as a video game not going his way and being denied his 14th cup of chocolate milk for the day: "tartar sauce". I'm pretty sure it came from SpongeBob and it's *hilarious* to hear him curse, "tartar sauce" under his breath.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Welcome to the Morningstar blog!

For those of you subscribed to our newsletters, you've probably noticed that we've... um... gotten less regular in our communication. We still have tons to tell you about the lives and times of the Morningstar family, but the time has definitely come to transition to a blog-based format. You can find all of our old newsletters at but from now on we'll post to this blog. Hope you enjoy the new format, and hope it makes it even easier to frequently tell our friends and family all over the country about our adventures.


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