Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!

 It's that time to say goodbye to one year and hello to the next!
I thought it would be fun to do a year of pictures to send 2010 out with a proper farewell. She was a good year to us. (Some pictures are new, never been published on my blog before, so keep an eye out!)

Gabriel turned ONE YEAR OLD!

February...Billy Jr turned 3, Alex turned 11, Brayden turned 8

Brayden was baptized by Billy and he joined cub scouts.


Owen turned six and started his first year of soccer, with Billy coaching. AND we underwent major changes in the house, finally painting all the previously brown panel walls GREEN!

 We had lots of fun camping, AND got a new dog (who we only kept for a couple months...wasn't a good fit with our spoiled "only dog" Lady)

 In June we said goodbye to public school (hopefully forever). Owen had his kindergarten graduation, and fittingly a few days later we had a summer picnic with the boys' new school. The new school is a homeschool program that allows them to go up to 8 hours a week to a school for other homeschooled kids, where they can take a variety of arts, sciences, music, P.E. classes and more. (oops can't find my pictures of there summer picnic!)
 In July we had lots of fun in the hot summer sun!

In August Billy and I celebrated 9 years of marriage! Also, we went to the ZOO! 

In September we started our first year of homeschooling all the boys, and their first day at their new "homeschool school".

Whew October was BUSY for us! In October we had my birthday (uggh! Last year in my 20's...*sniff*). Also my sister got married! Owen was the ring bearer. Then the boys finished their soccer season. And finally there was Halloween. We had an awesome Halloween party complete with a trunk-or-treat at our church. 


November was busy preparing for the holidays. We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner here with Billy's family. It was so nice getting everyone together!
All nine Byington grandkids! Five boys for us, four girls for Billy's brother and his wife! :)

 Cute cousins!
 Everyone writing five things they are thankful for...

One word...CHRISTMAS! :) And for those pictures you can just scroll down to the previous post. haha
And now to say hello to 2011! I hope you will be just as nice to us! I look forward to see what you have to bring to us.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010!

Only five days late...not too bad!

Christmas this year came on in a blur and went by in a blur. I don't know where the time went? It must have just been me though, because the kids complained plenty about how sllllllllllow time was passing before Christmas!

Before Christmas, however, Alex had his first piano recital. Brayden had a piano recital too, but I didn't get video of it. :( Here is Alex's piano debut though:

For Christmas this year we had Christmas Eve with Billy's family, Christmas morning to ourselves, Christmas afternoon with my family, and the day after Christmas with Billy's brother and his family. What a busy Christmas!

My camera is gone, broken, kaput. :( So forgive my grainy pictures that I took on my back-up camera which is very old and poor quality. Uggh! I hope to get a new camera after the first of the year. :)

I still was able to capture a few of the super happy smiley faces though!

Billy Jr was SOOO excited about EVERYTHING this Christmas. Here he is super excited about what Santa brought him, which was a police car ride in toy. With real siren sounds!

Owen got an Ipod Shuffle from Santa. He's been begging for one of these for a long time!

Alex got a snowboard from Santa. He wants to learn to snowboard, but we'll start him out small and see if he likes it before we consider spending the "big bucks".

Billy in his little car again!

Gabriel got one from Santa too, a firetruck ride in car! He was really excited in this picture, but its hard to see.

Billy is WAY into Toy Story this year. He was so excited about his Toy Story pillow.

He also got a Toy Story blanket. He cuddled up on the couch with them both! He won't let ANYONE touch his pillow or blanket now...or else its WW III. yikes.

Brayden wasn't quite awake yet, he woke us up about every hour from midnight on seeing if Santa had came yet. He was SO excited. He got an Ipod Shuffle from Santa also!

Brayden was really excited about his Star Wars toy! (sorry I don't know Star Wars that well!)

Backing up a bit - here was Billy Jr telling Santa what he wanted for Christmas at the church Christmas party about a week before. He was very unsure at first, but after watching the other kids for awhile he climbed right onto Santa's lap and started jabbering away!

Gabriel....not so much.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Contemplating a Family Closet

I've heard of this idea before. Many large families swear by it. I am liking the idea more and more.


Because I'm tired of going through broken dressers like they were meant to be disposable. I'm tired of finding wadded up shirts shoved under the dresser (That's where that went! lol). I'm also tired of hauling laundry piles upstairs and down. Also, sorting out too small clothes, or out of season clothes would be a LOT easier if they were all in one area. More organized too.

Here is the idea behind the concept:

A picture of another family closet:

The problem is that I don't have room in my house for an entire laundry much as I love that idea. We use our space very creatively. We do have a school room that is only used for school, but I'm not willing to give that up as a laundry room.

Since we don't have a ton of kids (yet ;) haha!) we really don't need a laundry room I don't think. Rather I'm thinking of converting the master bedroom closet into the family closet.

Here is what it looks like now:

Currently the master bedroom is being used as the three oldest boys' room. However we'll be switching them back downstairs probably this summer, and taking our master bedroom back.
This closet is 11ft across and has installed in it a custom closet organization system as you can see. There are seven spots for rods to hang shirts. Only four of them are being used though, because the boys have taken the other rods to use as swords over time. ;) It will be easy to replace those rods though and have seven spots to hang shirts from once again.

However I don't know if it'd be easier to just take that whole thing out and put in wardrobe rack things. I really like this idea:
Each wardrobe rack has a spot for shoes even! Shoes are another never ending battle in this house!

So I'm not sure quite how to go about this...but I'd love to hear some ideas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Long overdue update!

Wow September since I last posted! What's wrong with me! lol

We've been pretty busy with soccer season, homeschooling, and me taking a full load of college classes as well. Thankfully I was able to get online classes this quarter. Next quarter will be online also, however our local college doesn't have that great of variety for online classes. Eventually I'll have to take some night classes at the college. Winter break is starting now though, so I'll get a couple months class-free. YAY!!

Soccer is finally done also! The boys had a ton of fun. Billy coached Alex's team and they both really enjoyed it. Brayden also liked his team.

Homeschoooling is also going well. Its a steep learning curve, but we're getting through it. I keep telling myself that the first year is GOING to be full of bumps and challenges. Its never going to be totally easy, as easy as shipping them off on a bus each morning was. lol However, the challenges that I faced with the public school - the challenges THEY faced - were mountains compared to the little bumps we're facing now with homeschooling. I have never once doubted our decision...if I doubt anything its just the way that I'm doing things. I am constantly trying to look for new, better ways to do things then I am. Its all a big learning experience right now!
The boys are making friends in their school though. Twice a week they go to a "parent-partnered" school that one of the local school districts provide. So on the books, they are offically "public school students" still as far as the government is concerned. What that means is that they get to take a few classes a week at this school that is just for homeschooled kids. They can take one class a week at minimum or up to 8 classes a week at max. We're doing 8 classes a week which is one half day (9:30-1pm) and one full day (9:30-3pm). They are making great friends there already and fitting in great. Alex is enjoying his wood shop, karate, piano lessons, art class and much more. Brayden loves his "Dangerous Book For Boys Class" where he learns such things as how to do magic tricks, make electricity out of a potato, and make the world's best paper airplane (hey it's a fluff class lol). He also likes his art classes too, and karate, science, and more. Owen has a first grade "block" with one teacher who he really likes. Its a classroom setting like he'd get at his old school and I think its really good for him. He also is doing karate and art classes too.

Billy Jr and Gabe are just busy as ever. Billy Jr is potty trained! YAYYYYYY! And I'm thinking of starting Gabe on potty training this next year.

Billy Sr is keeping busy with work, church, and whatever I require of him as well. lol

So basically we've just been....keeping busy! :) I think life would be boring without all this business though. Its our life, and we enjoy it.

No pictures this time! I have some soccer pictures that I will upload next time. :) The bad news is that my nice camera is toast! :( I have a little one I've been using, but it doesn't take that great of photos. This is devastating for me during Christmas season! lol

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First day of homeschool AND soccer season!

What a busy couple weeks!
Our soccer season started a couple weeks ago, so that's always fun. Not! Billy is coach of Alex's team because they couldn't find a coach. That just makes it MORE fun! Not.

Then last week the boys started their first day at their homeschool-school. Its described as the "best of both worlds". Its ran by a couple teachers and classes are also taught by other adults with experience in various areas and an interest in homeschooling. It gives the boys the chance to get out of the house two days a week and take a variety of fun classes in a school-like atmosphere (and also gives mom a break too!). They go there three hours on Tuesday and five hours on Wednesday.

Today started our first day of homeschooling. That was fun!

I wrote all about it on my homeschooling blog:

Brayden had his first soccer game yesterday too! It was a bit chaotic with the two little ones trying to run around everywhere. uggh! But I did get some pictures, that I will post next time!

Okay that's it for now, running out of computer time!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zoo Trip Summer 2010

We were feeling pretty bummed out this summer that we didn't have any family vacations planned. Sure we went camping a couple times and visited with the grandparents. However a fun day out of our norm activities - just too busy and not enough money.

Then Billy surprised us and said, "Wanna go to the zoo!?" Yay!
It was pretty funny when he asked the kids...he said, "Okay we can either stay home this weekend and pull weeds"....long pause, lots of pouting, frowning and NOOOOOOOO's..."Or" he continued, "We can go to the ZOO!". The boys jumped up and down for that one!

Billy Jr didn't know what a "zoo" was but he was sure it was excited. The next couple days  he kept saying "go to the zoo?"

We decided to just make it a day trip because we had obligations at church the next day. However we did make plans with my sister and her fiance to meet us at the zoo. They were pretty excited too, and soon-to-be Uncle Jeremy got us a great deal on zoo tickets.

We set out bright at early at 7am (we were supposed to leave at 6:30 but it was a pain getting those little boys - and big boys- out of bed!).

At the zoo, Billy Jr could hardly contain himself. This was the coolest thing he's ever seen! He LOVES animals and they were EVERYWHERE! Not just the normal cats and dogs either. ;)

We did bring a stroller for him, but he was running from animal to animal exhibit right along with his brothers. We thought he'd tire out, but...NOPE!

Unfortunately his excitement got the best of him and he was bulldozing through kids at each exhibit. It was a very busy day that day. In fact while I was trying to take pictures and Billy was sitting with the stroller, Billy Jr bulldozed through a little girl and the mother had a "talking to" Billy Jr. Oops! Yep...I have one of  "those" kids. ;)

 At the African Savannah, in the African school

Some of the African Savannah animals

In one of the African village buildings

See how excited Billy Jr is! Here he is in an hut of some kind in the African village

A full view of the hut

Such a cutie!

A bird in the rainforest exhibit

Riding the bronze hippo...the real hippos were hiding behind bushes :(

It was giraffe feeding time. Pay $5 and you can have the giraffe eat out of your hand! We just watched though.

King of the jungle (although Lions don't live in jungles do they? King of the...Savannah?)

He gave us a show and roared for us!

 An African Savannah monkey

The pretty Painted Wild Dog

Up close with an elephant (not really, just used my big zoom lens)

A Tapir - at once point, as told by my sister, a child asked her mom what that was and the mom responded, "uh umm that's uh....." in which Alex quickly stepped in and answered for her, "that's a Tapir" very matter of factually. haha

The komodo dragon was cool

The boys loved the komodo dragons

Merekat Manor! They are so small in person!

A pretty owl, not sure which type

The bears!

We spent the most time at the bear exhibit. I think they were brown bears? They were HUGE though. Billy Jr couldn't get enough of the sunken viewing room - where we were behind glass just above the water level with lots of big fish (trout?) swimming for us to see. Then the bears treated us to a show and one jumped in the water and swam right up to the glass, back and forth. It got pretty crowded then with people rushing over to see (wouldn't be so bad with just little kids but even the adults were cramming in to see!)  I couldn't even see Billy Jr or the other boys in the crowd, but you can be sure he pushed his way through to the glass to see that. ;)

 Billy Jr at the glass below water level in the bear exhibit

Bear coming closer to the viewing area

There were two bear in this exhibit, eventually the second bear got in the water too

Come on in, the water's great!

The last shot I got of the bear in the water before I was stampeded by kids and parents

We spent nearly five hours at the zoo and Billy Jr only sat in the stroller for probably 30  minutes! Gabriel just hung out in the stroller, watching it all, and not making a peep (well except his usual periodical shrieks he does! Thankfully he blended right in at the zoo though).

 A pretty snake, if you think snakes can be pretty

Elk? In the North American Trail exhibit

What do you get when you cross a Kangaroo with a Wallaby?....A Wallaroo! 

A sleeping crocodile..he slept with his eyes open. Super creepy.

The Penguins!!

Tropical rainforest bird

Feeding time for the black and white Colobus Monkeys

Brayden and Billy Jr checking out the fake cow...with real fake teats to pretend to milk!

After we were done, we decided to go the Rainforest Cafe as a fitting end to our zoo day.

The boys were amazed with the Rainforest Cafe and kept finding excuses to get up and look at the sharks in the big aquarium by the door.
The down side though was the "thunder and lightning" that happened every 30-40 minutes. It freaked Gabe out big time and every time it started he'd scream and try to scramble out of his high chair. That happened three or four times during our dinner. Also, the boys were just pumped up with excitement and not staying in their chairs. I think my sister and her fiance were more worn out then we were. ;) They were used to all of the crazy-ness.
We surprised my sister with a lava cake for her birthday. They sang her happy birthday to her embarassment and then we all split the yummy brownie and ice cream lava cake.

The boys were WORN out and I got a great photo of them all zonked out in the back.

It was a fun day!