Friday, December 19, 2014

Life in December

Oh man.  Here we are, less than a week before Christmas.

Here's a recap of this month's highlights.

This year we did something new.  We picked out a real tree!  I've wanted to do this for a couple of years and this year was the year!  I imagined how dreamy it would be and in the end, it really wasn't all that dreamy.  Mowgli and Bud had their hearts set on one tree and The Mr. and I were having a little sticker shock and trying to direct them to some not so insanely expensive trees.  This made them frustrated, which made us frustrated.  The Mr. was late getting off work which made for some restless, impatient children (and mama).   And Tigerlily and Hawk just wanted to run around and see the goats, which meant we were chasing them all over the place.

But after we got that beauty strapped to the top of our van and we drove home while jamming to some Christmas tunes, I reflected on how it was true that things didn't go perfectly but my kids would remember the overall experience of selecting the tree and hopefully the peaceful, excited feeling in the car that night as well as the joy they had while decorating it.

 We came home and got right to decorating. 

The kids absolutely LOVED stringing popcorn and cutting snowflakes to adorn he tree.  Ask Mowgli and he'll tell you this is the best Christmas tree ever. 

This guy spent an afternoon stringing Christmas lights on the house.  (Another first for us!)  Notice the shorts sleeves?  We still can't believe this weather!  It's nuts!  Mid 40's lately. 

We've been enjoying all sorts of Christmas books.  The kids enjoy unwrapping a new one each night. 

This is our first year reading the original A Christmas Carol rather than the abridged version.  The kids are so familiar with the story that they are doing really well with the unabridged.   I also read The Little Red Buckets, as I do each year and as I did with my mom in my teenage years.  I've still got Jacob T. Marley to get to. 

One Thursday morning the big boys and I headed off to one of the many ski resorts in our area.  We had a blast on the empty slopes all day.  We didn't have to wait in line for a single person all day long.  This really was a dreamy day.  These two were so giddy and grateful.  I l-o-v-e skiing with them. 

We've been making all sorts of yummy treats. (Which means I've been eating too many treats!)  Bud loves his cooking class and often comes home wanting to recreate for us what he made in class. 

We are looking forward to our Meals on Wheels route next week when we will deliver a handmade card at each stop. 

Mowgli finished up another sewing project (the basketball pillowcase). 

We've had some great outings too.  Here we are at a children's production of A Christmas Carol.  This is an annual tradition for us that we couldn't stand to miss.   I am always in awe at the talent that is displayed. 

The cub scouts toured the local fire station.  

And let's not forget that morning I was pulled over for having expired registration.  Thankfully, the officer was generous enough to let me go with a warning since I had all the paperwork right next to me that proved I had it in progress.   The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever and now Mowgli considers himself the registration police as he looks for expired registration everywhere we go. 

We attended a spectacular performance at Brigham Young University called Christmas Around the World.  This is another of our most favorite events each year. 

The kids' eyes lit up when the Samoan fire knife dancers came out.   They really stole the show.   Hearing those drums and watching the knives twirling threw me back to my days living in Hawaii. 

We put on a training breakfast for all of the adults who work in our children's organization at church.  

I got to spend an evening out with some of my favorite people I'll ever know. 

And we're still trying to get outdoors for at least one hour each day

We had our church Christmas party.  The theme was Christmas Around the World.  The primary (children's group) was assigned The North Pole.  I am blessed to work with some incredibly talented women who came up with a great display for Santa to visit the children.  

All the kids dressed up as The North Pole.  

The Mr. is part of the presidency for the men's organization (called Elder's Quorum).  I gotta say, I love their simplicity.  All they said that mattered was that they served good food.  Which they did.  They had some delicious lumpia for everyone to sample. 
And then there was another pack meeting for Mowgli.  He is in love with scouts and works on requirements almost every day of the week.  This month he earned 6 belt loops.  

Here's the only photo I got at our homeschool Christmas party held at the skating rink. 

Wrap all that up with a bow and some tears, some poop in the check out line, a child who needed to put on his swimming suit in the middle of the night, some yelling, some gasps of exasperation (probably mostly from me), some stress, a lot of smiles and laughter and there you have it.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Rest {Thanksgiving}

Considering we're just a couple weeks away from Christmas, I figured I should probably finish up with Thanksgiving! More back HERE.

Thanksgiving night there were conversations about heading to a store or two.  I wasn't sure I was up for it, but decided to go for it just to be with my fam.  I'm so glad I did!  We had a fabulous time together!  As we were standing in the never-ending check-out line and just before we took this photo we had a fit of giggles and it is a moment that will last in my mind for years to come.

I love waking up early, even if it means sitting in my closet to have a bit of quiet time to read.  Gotta love seeing a picture of someone's toilet right?  Ha!

The day after Thanksgiving we started out having breakfast at my sister's house.  (Our other sister fried up some homemade scones for us.)  Yum!

Then we were off to our favorite of all favorite trampoline arenas.  

That's Mowgli jumping from the rock wall.  

These girls got photobombed big time! 

Okay. There we go.  That's a bit better.  

Loved hanging out with these gals.  We got a kick out of watching Tigerlily play!  She was sure cracking us up!

We followed that up with lunch.  These kids are in love with Orange Chicken!

That night the adults had a quintuple date and headed to the theater.  We saw Catch Me If You Can The Musical. 

Saturday morning it was time for goodbyes as our family, who had traveled from Wyoming, hit the road for home.

Meanwhile, I attended a baby shower of a friend from my single days.  She's expecting her first (and second and third babies!)  It is truly amazing.  She is so grateful and feels so blessed.  She is planning for the arrival of her two sons and daughter in March.  


Take a look at those diapers!  Anyone who brought diapers was entered into a raffle for prizes.  I am certain she will need a U-Haul just to get her gifts to her home in Vegas in the coming months!

I spent the rest of Saturday Christmas shopping and was able to complete all that we planned to do.  The kids also drew names for each other and had a $10 limit that they could spend on one another.  So, truth be told, I visited the same store FOUR times that day as I took one kid at a time to pick something out for their person.  I delighted in seeing them consider their sibling and try so hard to decide that person would like.

We wrapped up our Thanksgiving weekend with our church's "It's Great to be 8" event put on by the primary.  This is a special night for all of the children who will turn 8 years old next year and will be baptized.  (Mowgli's "It's great to be 8" back HERE.)  I was able to talk to those cute boys about the Cub Scout program and get them excited about that!    

That's all. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving {The Meal}

Oh man alive, was Thanksgiving awesome or what?!

We spent our Wednesday running a few errands, listening to Christmas music (the first for us this year), playing outside in the amazing, non-freezing weather, and making a few crafts.

The big boys made these toilet paper/paint swatch turkeys to use as centerpieces. 

Thanksgiving day started very early for us!  I was so excited, I couldn't sleep any longer and was up setting the table before 6:00.  The excitement and anticipation was thick because the kids were up just shortly after me and spent their morning watching Mickey's A Christmas Carol.  

The Mr. was up early cooking an authentic Samoan breakfast called Cocoa Rice (coco alaisa).  He was off to play football with the youth and men from our church in which they competed against another congregation.  There's even a trophy involved in this annual competition!  I hear it gets pretty intense!  Last year there was an injury that required surgery.  I guess that's what happens when you put a whole bunch of football coaches, high school players, former college players, and a few former NFL players on a field together. 

 Now for that pretty table.  I was so happy to include the lovely crafts the kids were so proud of!

Loved my terrific helper!  Once those cousins arrived, though, my kids were outta there and I didn't see much of them!  

My mom has a tablecloth that we write things we are thankful for on it.  Pokemon appeared more than once this year! 

Each child's table setting had a placemat that I found online.  It kept them busy between their begs of, "How much longer?" and "I'm so hungry."

I had to make sure I got in one photo. 

The adult table(s).  We had my parents and both of my sisters' families with us.  We were just missing my brother's family who was on-call in Idaho, so they couldn't be with us.   We had 18 people total. 

These guys spent hours and hours playing football!  

And she's just adorable.  I mean.  Really.  

What's better than happy, giggling girls in princess dresses at the park? 

 I hope you had a terrific time with your loved ones too!

The rest of Thanksgiving 2014 HERE

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