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Monday, December 29, 2008

This is the Season...

Merry Christmas!

This is the season, beloved of the year
Sing a rhyme, Christmastime just has been here
Tell the true story of Jesus' birth
When, as a baby, He came to the earth!

This is the new star shining so bright
Lighting the world on that first Christmas night
This is the angel, proclaiming the birth
Singing, "Hosanna!" and "Peace on the earth!"

This is the stable, shelter so bare
Cattle and oxen first welcomed Him there
This is the manger, sweet hay for a bed
Waiting for Jesus to cradle His head

These are the shepherds, humble and mild
Hastening to welcome the heavenly child

These are the wise men who followed the star
Frankincense, gold and myrrh brought from afar

See the sweet mother, Mary, so fair
Joseph, who guided the donkey with care
See the dear baby of Bethlehem
Little Lord Jesus, the Savior of men!

From our hearts and homes to yours, the Christmas Cousins wish you joy and blessings as we continue to celebrate the real "Reason for the Season"!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The Christmas letter didn't make it into the cards this year, but we did manage to spread the word about our blog, and hopefully many dear friends and loved ones will find their way here! We hope you are enjoying this most wonderful time of year, and feeling the joy and blessings brought into the world by a baby boy over 2,000 years ago!

Brian and Catherine are still enjoying weekly date nights, serving in our Church and in our community, and raising 6 adorable children who are growing up way too fast! We were grateful to add our own talents to their lives this year outside the walls of our home as Brian coached sports and Catherine directed music for the kids extra-curricular activities. The greatest moments are still found here at home, though, where Catherine still gets to homeschool all six, and Brian achieves hero status daily just by coming home! The logistics of a big family are pretty demanding, but how many people get to live their dream? We are so blessed!

Kamberlynne was thrilled to turn 12 this year and officially enter the youth group at church. She is a beautiful Young Woman, and it is a joy to see her talents develop as she gets older! Now I have to say how lucky we were to get picture of Kamberlynne with only happened because this Santa is a fellow cast member of the community show the big 4 kids performed in this month! Besides lighting up the stage in multiple shows this year, Kamberlynne also was a star on the softball field, making the travel team and earning many team awards! Her greatest talent is her natural affection and leadership in our home, she is the best big sister ever!

Christian is still our nature boy, and for an almost eleven year old, can wax eloquent for hours on prehistoric earth, amphibians, and marine life! When he isn't memorizing facts from Animal Planet, he's memorizing lines for the many shows he performed in this year as well! Christian discovered a real talent for the stage as well, and wowed audiences with his natural stage prescence and singing! During rehearsals he finally found an avid love for reading, and gobbles up a good 4 fantasy novels a week! As the biggest brother in the family, his laid back attitude and happy disposition are a great example for all to emulate!

At 9, Jonah is a real computer and math whiz! He often tutors his older siblings, and will do just about anything to earn extra game time! He spent time on stage and in the ball field as well, developing talents and gaining friends with his irresistable charm and sense of humor! He keeps us all laughing! Jonah also has a gift for obedience, and is often the first done with chores and school, offering help to his siblings! What a sweetie!

Indy continues to bring joy to everyone with his kind words and affection to everyone, stranger or friend alike! His sensitive heart keeps him on the look out for others to befriend, and he especially blesses Rebekah and Briella with songs and games throughout the day! He keeps up with the big kids effortlessly, as well, and gained quite a fan club being the youngest performer in some shows this year! He's still big for being only 7, wears a bigger size than Jonah, and has a bigger voice than all the boys! He also is our natural pianist, surpassing Christian's year of experience in only a few months! We can't wait to see him be baptized in just a few short months!
Our little Rebekah isn't so little anymore! She just turned five, but is convinced she is old enough to wear make-up, be in the big kids' plays, and run everything! For now, she'll have to be happy with her own ballet class, Keepers at Home Girls Club, and Musical Theatre JR classes! Her first "Official" year of homeschool is zooming by, and mom is glad she is a natural reader! Bekah is loving being a big sister, and can't wait for Briella to grow just a little bit bigger and play dress-up and tea party! It looks like Bekah's red hair is here to stay, and if you look closely, you'll see her "lucky freckle"on her left cheek, too! Just adorable!

And what about Briella???? Well, if the family pic with Santa above didn't clue you in....

she didn't like Santa so much. Actually, she's pretty picky about who she likes and who she doesn't. Right now she likes about 7 people only, the ones she lives with. Since her picture with Santa didn't go so well, she got her own Christmas photo shoot with mom!

Ok, so how cute is she?!?!?!?!?!? As I mentioned, "Ellie" as we frequently call her, is very very very attached to her family, especially mom and dad! Kamberlynne is a close third, and all the siblings can get easy smiles, but watch out, everyone else! We can't believe she's almost 20 months! She loves being the center of attention, and who can blame her, she's just so cute! Over the past month or so, she has started to find her words, and some of her favorites are "where daddy?", "my blanket", and "I no no", which translates to "I don't know". She loves putting her diapers in the garbage, her spoons in the sink, and her hands in the cat food! Her little kisses melt out heart, and she is just the cutest thing...have I mentioned that yet! Her adoption has blessed our life unmeasurable ways, and we pray the Lord will open the way for more precious children to come to our home!

We hope this little glimpse into our lives has brought a few smiles! We especially hope you enjoy a blessed Christmas, and feel in your heart to sing "Joy to the World, the Lord is come!" We look forward with all our hearts to His return as "King of Kings" and "Lord of Lords"! God Bless us, everyone!

With the Merriest of Christmas Wishes,
Brian, Catherine, and our six Christmas Lambs

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Befuddled Tradition

A tradition I never want to change...the Sunday before Christmas picture in the holiday why are only 5 of our 8 pictured...welllll........
Believe me, you don't want details. Suffice it to say, a little flu bug is going around our ward, and when we went to bed last night we were all fine, but when we woke up....yuck! So now, the five of us above will wear our same clothes next week and deal with a little tradition mess-up! The picture of everyone in their holiday finery will have to be the Sunday AFTER Christmas this year! We WILL all be healthy next week....( I'm exercising a lot of faith!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Traditions

I really love traditions. Let me say that again...I REALLY LOVE TRADITIONS! And there needs to be a really good reason if you're going to change one. Let me say that again....A REALLY GOOD REASON! And who would want to mess with the "go and pick out your own tree" tradition, anyways?
I mean, so what if every year when you go to pick out the tree it is the coldest windiest day so far this year.....noses are running, and the mom has to stand in the store with the baby so the little one doesn't get frost bite....and then there's the anticiapation of cutting open EVERY tree to see if its too tall or too fat.... those are not good enough reasons to change the tradition!

And after that there's the making sure to let it stand naked for a few days so it will "fall out" properly while the kids beg and beg to decorate it...a little annoying, but not enough to change tradition.

So what about the prickly red itchy welts all up your arm from stringing the lights..., the beauty of it and that fresh smell when you walk through the door makes up for it, don't ya' think? Certainly not a good enough reason to change tradition!

But sadly enough, I'm afraid there is one reason to ummm....., modify the tradition....that is becoming legitimate for this traditional girl........

THOSE DARN NEEDLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No matter what I try, (and let me tell you...I have tried everything from plant food to soda pop...), every tree we have ever had never makes it very long before our floor is covered with those dang needles. This is the ONE VALID reason for changing tradition, and the reason why I have been asking for a fake tree for three years in a row now (are you listening, santa?) I don't mean to sound like a grinch, but it is driving me crazy!!!! Will I really be sent to the telestial kingdom if I own a pre-lit non-needle dropping evergreen?!?!?!? Brian is sure I will!

There are plenty other traiditions I promise to keep forever!!! Sugar cookies, caroling, letters to santa, the Christmas Eve reading from the scriptures, fudge, mistletoe.....
Here's wishing you all are enjoying your Christmas traditions during this wonderful holiday season (even if you have a "real" tree!)!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Here's Love" Christmas Show Performance

After weeks and weeks of singing, dancing, and memorizing lines, we all had a big payoff on opening night Friday! Our biggest four kids are in the ensemble (and even have a few lines!) for "Here's Love", the musical version of the Christmas favorite "Miracle on 34th Street", and Catherine is part of the Production Staff (costuming and some music)! For those of you who live close by, you can catch our 3rd or 4th shows this Friday or Saturday at the Bel Air Armory. Everyone else who lives too far away (boo-hoo), these videos are for you! Enjoy!

Opening Scene, Macy's Thanksgiving day Parade
Kamberlynne plays the clown, and the three boys are singing and dancing in the front row. Jonah in a red and black jacket, Christian in a green sweater and black jacket (the kid who takes the Captain's hat), and Indy in a tan sweater and hat (sings the line "hey what the dickens can that be"! You can't miss them...they are the cutest ones!

Macy's Store, Kamberlynne is a new clerk in training, near the middle, turquoise skirt
Indy is the first kid sitting on Santa's lap

Title Number, "Here's Love" all four kids have little spots

Court Room, Jonah plays Tommy, the DA's son (My personal favorite scene!)

Finale, all four are in there again!

Now if you actually made it through all of those videos, you must be Nana! If you didn't, we love you anyways, and you can catch us on Broadway in the future! It sure was a fun way to kick off the Christmas season!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Vacation!

We sure hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday! We usually spend the holiday with my sister, Amber, and her family,who live just about an hour away! She and her husband, Peter, have 5 adorable boys, and they all line up pretty much with our 6 cuties! Well, we decided to be adventurous this year and join them in Historic Virginia for a few days seeing the sights and enjoying time together! We packed up on Tuesday and stayed till Friday, and even though Briella screamed the whole first night, we made some great memories! I took so many pictures, there's no way I could blog them all, so I sort of cheated and resorted to a lot of "slide shows"! Enjoy!

Here Brian and I are with 10 of the 11 cousins...Baby Pierce was being packed into the stroller still! We spent all day Wednesday at the James Fort Historic Park, the very first English Settlement...John Smith, Pocahontas, the whole real deal! The cousins spent hours completing their "Junior Ranger" activities, earned their very cool patches, and had a marvelous time of it! We had an historically appropriate picnic lunch of dried beef, nuts, cheese and crackers and walked in the very footsteps of those Americans who helped "settle" the New World and create our Free Country. It was pretty incredible. We highly recommend the trip! As we went through the rest of the week visiting Williamsburg and Yorktowne, we sure had some genuine feelings of thanksgiving for this land, and those who came before us to prepare it for liberty and lay the foundation upon which the gospel could be restored. We are so blessed.

James Fort Fun!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Starting the day off right!

Now this is how I like waking up...on vacation! Even though we were away from home, we had alot of fun keeping the old traditions! One of my favorite...cuddling in bed together in our pj's watching...
and cheering the arrival of Santa Clause!
After that, we decorated our annual Thanksgiving Turkeys and wrote what we are most thankful for! We've been doing this for years, and Catherine has saved them all1 Every year we go back through them, and since we have spent most of our Thanksgivings with the Joyce Cousins, we all het a laugh reviewing what everyone has been thankful for over the past years! Some of my favorite's:
Reilly, age 6 "I am thankful for nachos"
Christian, age 2 "I am thankful for birds that go tweet tweet"
Jonah, age 4 "I am thankful I am a carnivore"
So cute!

After Dad got home from the local ward "Turkey Bowl" with Uncle Pete and the boys, we all packed up and headed out to Williamsburg! Some of the Holiday decorations were up here and there, and it was such a beautiful day, we just walked around enjoying ourselves for a couple of hours (trying to burn off the calories we were about to consume!)

Here's one of my favorite pics from the trip! Just look at all those blessings we have to be thankful for!

After Williamsburg, it was time to feast...condo style! Amber and I were creative in our planning and pulled off Thankgiving dinner, including a fabulous turkey, homemade rolls, mashed potatoes, two types of pies, green bean casserole, and a drumstick for every cousin! Yum, Yum!
Move over, Martha Stewart!
And finally, after our wonderful meal together, we headed out to a local lights attraction....over 100 miles of Christmas lights in the drive along display! We popped in the first Christmas CD of the season, and let the bells jingle all the way!

One last picture of all the Washburns and Joyce's together! We Washburn's are so thankful for a wonderful day spent with some of the people we love so dearly! We sure wish all our loved one's could have joined us! We sure wish everyone had as wonderful of a day as we did!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Colonial Thanksgiving...our Williamsburg outing!

The Day After...Yorketown!

Our last stop before heading home...

We finished off our trip with a visit to Yorktown Battlefield, the defining battle that clinched victory for America and led to the end of the Revolutionary War! George Washington commanded here, and we stood under the very same tent roof as he did!

It was a great family trip, especially at Thanksgiving! We really felt grateful as we reflected on the hand of the Lord in preparing this land for the restoration of the gospel. Leading great people here who would fight for freedom and establish liberty so we could enjoy the many blessings we often take for granted. It really is the promised land! We are truly blessed!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Could it really be????

If you look closely, you might just see what we saw today...SNOW FLURRIES!!
Though it was far from what we are really hoping for, these teeny white flecks got us all excited, and we sure hope it is a good sign of things to come! (If you can't spot any snowflakes, click to enlarge the picture and look against our van window in the driveway!)
Last year we never got enough snow to sled even once, and our only snow that produced a snowman was gone three hours later! Here Bekah is wishing for days and days of sledding and enough snowmen to fill a stadium! That's what I'm wishing for, too, Bekah...I'm going to add a big canister of Hot Chocolate to the shopping list so we'll be ready for sure! (See the snowflakes against the black of our neighbors roof right by Bekah's head?!?!? Look really closely.....)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Leaves are Falling all Around....

OK, so I went to post our fall leaves pictures, but they were so super cute, I had to make them into a new header!
Hope you all are enjoying plenty of autumn enjoyment in your own leaves, too!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Night of Stars!

Kamberlynne was a "star" at our ward "Young Women in Excellence" program tonight! The YW leaders did an amazing job honoring each girl and their efforts at completing some Personal Progress goals. They very literally rolled out the red carpet, had everyone dress up in their fanciest dresses, and recognized and awarded each girl an "Emma Award" for excellence in the Personal Progress Program! They even had each girl give an acceptance speech! Super cute and lots of fun!
Our shining star!

Kamberlynne presenting her 10 hour value goal for "Good Works". Over the course of a couple months Kamberlynne completed over 20 knitted hats to be donated to the needy! In her "acceptance speech" she shared how much of a humbling experience it was to realize how many blessings she enjoys when others out there don't even have a hat, and how glad she was to be able to serve! What a sweetie!

What a blessing to have other stars to help light your way!

Ahhh, the glorious "Emma" award! Way to go, Loo!

Hanging out with our theatre friends, Betsy and Cami...we girls are doing a show together right now, the younger ones on stage, the momma' s working behind the scenes!
More posing with is Kamberlynne's sweetest friend Nikki with her mom, our YW President! We are blessed to call them dear friends, and would hang out together everyday if we could!

Kamberlynne and her star...all the girls had autographed and had their handprints on their own YW Walk of Fame Star! Isn't that so cute? These YW leaders did such a great job, they each deserve a week at the spa!

A true star always takes time with the little people! Thanks, Kamberlynne, for letting your love shine so brightly! It lightens up each and every one of our days! Shine On, sweet girl, shine one!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reverently, Quietly....

Can it really be true?!?!? My sweet baby is ready for nursery!?!?!? HALLELUJAH!

We've been practicing folding arms and being reverent...Briella can do it for almost 5 seconds, now!

Isn't she a sweetie?!?!? Of course, this is NOT how she looked after the first three minutes of nursery...she was brought to me in Primary with red teary eyes and a big drippy nose, poor thing! Dad has been taking Ellie in for the second hour of nursery for the last few weeks, but she wasn't prepared to be left there! It'll take a few more weeks (not months, I hope) to have a successful transition, but its gotta be better than being passed back and forth between Daddy in YM and Momma in Primary, don't ya' think?

How in the world did 18 months go by so quickly? We are so grateful for our darling daughterl, and can't imagine what life would be like without her! We are reminded more times than we can count of the sacrifice that was made by Briella's birth mother in placing this darling girl in our home! We know Heavenly Father worked miracles on our behalf, and we will always carry a deep love and gratitude for the wonderful way Ellie became a part of our forever family!