Thursday, January 15, 2015

December 2014.

One Sunday morning, the boys decided to make a potion. They spent all morning on it, and ingredients included baking soda, baking powder, hand soap, salt, pepper, water, vinegar, and whatever else I would let them use. I can't remember what the purpose of the potion was, but it kept them entertained for a long time!

Gingerbread houses! I found a kit that had four mini houses. Having four children is very convenient! 
Glad that Isla let me have a little fun decorating her house!

I failed to get a picture of the finished houses, but they made a nice little village on top of the piano. We let them eat what they want from them on Christmas Day. 
Treats for the neighbors. Oreo truffles and carmelitas. And tea towels with hand painted Christmas trees for teachers.
Faye continues her obsession with pregnancy and babies.
We had some lovely warm weather in December! I love that I have three kids who are independent bikers. We like to ride on the trail to this pond, and then on to a park that's about a mile away.
Another super nice day. I sat on a park bench and soaked up the sun for a good hour while the girls played!!
One weekday morning, the girls and I had just headed out to run some errands. A big buck tried to jump over our car, and his body slammed against the passenger side of the windshield. We were all unharmed, and as soon as I pulled over I realized what great timing the deer had. We were less than a mile from a good friend's house (who homeschool, so I knew they'd be home!) and I didn't have any pressing appointments or classes to teach that morning. We got to hang out with our friends all morning, and replacing a windshield is really not too expensive or troublesome.
Lots of little things seemingly just happened to work out perfectly that morning, but I felt like it was God showing me His grace. 
That is deer fur stuck in the between the windshield and the car! Gross!
Watching the windshield replacement was definitely a highlight. Now, whenever we drive down the road where this occurred (which happens almost daily), Faye yells for me to SLOW DOWN MOM, AND WATCH OUT FOR DEER.
More potty training. 
Typical: spastic Faye and calm Isla!
Arranging everyone around the baby Jesus.
Faye's hair makes a great bun!
The boys had a pajama day at school for some Christmas celebration. I guess Everett had the wrong holiday in mind when he got dressed!
The car pool on pajama day.
Faye loves playdates with Caroline. Here they helped me make the oreo truffles.

Faye participated in a six-week dance class, put on by a friend who teaches dance in her home. Look how many cute little dancers!

Faye's class performing their number. She did a great job!
Just a typical weekday morning, 6:30 a.m. As long as I'm making lunches for two, I line up four containers to give to the girls if we're out and about. Sometimes I feel like 80% of my job as a mother is making food!

Half Marathon in Temple, Texas!! This was the second year in a row we went up to visit our friends the Swendsens and run. The kids love spending time with Kate, Jane and Trevor, so it is a fun weekend for everyone.
 I have run four or five half marathons now, and this was the first time I did any speed training. I wouldn't say I trained "hard" mileage-wise. I did get my long runs in on Saturdays, but I didn't have much time during the week to do any serious miles. I actually lost out on the first entire month of training due to bronchitis. Once I started training I did, however, do one really intense speed workout a week (thanks to a running class at the Y), and I added fast tempo runs the last four weeks of training. Turns out speed work is effective, because this was by far my best race ever!! I sort of hoped to run it under 1:40, but in my head didn't think I could do it this year. I kept my pace at around an eight minute mile for the first five miles or so of the race and then decided I felt good enough to just go for it. So I sped up, and kept speeding up until the end. My pace averaged out to be 7:34, and my time was 1:39:13. I was so pleased! I was the third female overall and first in my age group. I have NEVER placed in a race before!! So this is a testament to speed work I guess. And proof that 30 is a great age!!
The kids got to run a 1K with Santa, too. Go, Scott!
With both boys in school all day, running errands with just the girls is pretty long as I let them take their time and play a little at each store! And apparently we're 0 for 2 on the shoes thing here. I know, I'm horrible.
One day the boys ran in showing off some impressive pumpkin guts. They had found a leftover pumpkin from October way back in the backyard and somehow smashed/attacked it with hammers to open it and throw around the stuff inside. Awesome!
I turned 31 in December. One of my birthday presents (from myself) was this Nativity print, by Brian Kershisnik. Rick kindly helped me make a frame for it. Several months ago I pulled over when I saw a neighbor's fence being torn down to ask for the old fence wood. Rick has doubted I would ever actually put the wood to use, but here is something at least! I love the art and think I will leave it up year round.
This year we instituted a tradition of reading Christmas books by the tree each night in December. It was sometimes a failure, sometimes a success! 
Piano recital for these two. Carson's Beethoven's 5th was impressive!! And Everett rocked "Hunting Buffalo" and "Corn Dance."
The best piano teacher ever with her students! 

Breakfast with Santa at the neighborhood clubhouse. 
Everett had brought a lego creation to show Santa.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is hosting a big Christmas party. We invite everyone from church plus neighbors and whoever else wants to come! We enjoy a pot luck dinner, and then the kids act out the nativity. 
Adoring the babe.
An interesting costume for a wise man! He's got the gold though.
Isla ate plate after plate of creamed corn that night. Not sure who brought it, but I guess I should get the recipe!
During the party pretty much every room in our home is crammed with friends; it is so fun!
Granny Cheryl with her gifts to the kids! So grateful to have a neighbor who loves my kids!!
Making some gifts for cousins.
We made gifts for Rick's sister Jeanel and her family this year. (We actually made them back in July! I wanted to have them done and wrapped so we could bring them with us when we traveled to Utah over the summer. It was so nice to have that done and not have to worry about shipping things in December.)
T shirts are a fun project. Once I get the stencils made and on, the boys can paint them independently. Even the girls can paint with help.
Carson was into jokes then and looked up and printed off most of the jokes. He helped a lot with the conversation starters too. Hand-made gifts are the best!
We moved Christmas up a day at our house, so this was the schedule for the night of the 23rd.
Waiting for Rick to get home so we could begin our Christmas Eve celebrations! We had melted crayons earlier that day, so that was fun to keep them occupied.
We started with our "Bethlehem dinner." We dined on pitas with hummus, goat cheese, olives, pomegranate, cucumber and tomato salad, and... chips and queso. A favorite was the grape juice. We called it "new wine," and everyone loved asking for more wine.
Note that Faye is apparently pregnant now. I think she asked to be called Mary for some of the evening.
Opening one present: new pajamas.
Which makes the transition to getting ready for bed really nice!! The girls got sleepers, and the boys got robes.
Saying goodbye to Fred.
Throwing around food for the reindeer.
Everyone is sound asleep, and Christmas is waiting for them under the tree!! We kept things really simple this year. No huge presents, no staying up until the wee hours of the morning putting together any crazy toys. I didn't even make any high maintenance food!
Waiting to hear the bells...
And very excited! We had woken Isla up, since she usually sleeps until 8 or so, and there was no was we could wait until then!
I used to get a can of this in my stocking, and Everett was happy to be the recipient this year!
Fun stocking stuffers.
Breakfast was cinnamon bagels from Panera and dad's yummy bacon and eggs.
And whipped cream, of course!
Then it's back to the tree for presents. The boys were very sweet. Everett drew me a nice picture, since he knows I love his art. Carson had bought everyone something from the store at school.
Carson worked really hard to make this gift for his dad. 
And good old Rick showed the appropriate excitement about it!
A funny little pig head to hang on Everett's bedroom wall. Somehow he's acquired a few affectionate nicknames relating to pigs!
Isla's best gift was probably her Minnie Mouse underwear! She also got Play Dough, which she had been asking for regularly.
Love the excitement, Faye!
Happy boy. I was so excited to give him a board game called NFL Game Day, which I just knew he would love. Sure enough, he played it constantly for several days straight after Christmas and still pulls it out regularly. He is very, very into football! The Packers shirt was another favorite. 
Everyone opening their final present: Faye's is a baby doll bike seat.
Everett's "big" Nerf gun.
And Carson's remote control helicopter.
Merry Christmas from some happy kids!!

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