This was an assignment Jansen had for school in December that I got a kick out of. No pun intended. Funny side note and memory, when Nate and I were dating, I had a really great roommate named Rachel that we both loved. One time Nate said, "She really gives me a kick."
"You mean you get a kick out of her?"
Emmy has had a few days where she meticulously and happily makes her bed.
This is a close up of our Christmas tree this year. Lots of homemade creations.
Natalie and Emmy made macaroni and cheese all by themselves one Saturday afternoon.
Natalie must have been very tired this night, I found her asleep with a Go-gurt still in her mouth.
Nate was out of town for a few days in December, and I was really feeling down about the absence of that "Christmas feeling." The weather was so warm, and we are far from family and what I feel like are all the fun Christmas-y things. I was telling Nate all this on the phone, and he reminded me that there's a lot we can do in our home to make it feel more like the holidays. I put on my big girl pants, and the kids and I decorated cookies to get in the spirit.
And now an assignment of Natalie's that I also loved reading.
Leah was seated way too close to the silverware drawer, and she jumped on the chance to pull out almost every fork.
You can see a few moms in the distance of this picture. They all live in the neighborhood, various ages, some work and some don't, all of us in very different stages of life, but we have a great time chatting while the kids play outside when it's nice. It really helps my afternoons pass by as we wait for Nate to get home from work.
Natalie was a sheep in the ward Christmas party nativity.
The kids loved wearing their pajamas to the activity. It was a Polar Express themed night.
The next morning it was our family's turn to help clean the church.
That weekend was the busiest of the month for us. We went to an ugly sweater/white elephant party Saturday evening. This is the creation I came up with for Nate's sweater. I specialize in this kind of ugly crap.
Nate ended up winning the ugly sweater contest.
It was a hilarious and fun night. We have been very lucky to have "silly" friends everywhere we have lived. These parties are some of our favorite memories from all the places we've called home.
This was the white elephant (unicorn?) gift I brought to give away, and it was the last gift opened. I had to get a picture of Nate in it before it went to its new home.
It's incredibly magical to kiss a unicorn.
Emmy complains of headaches almost daily. Luckily there are no other symptoms, and for the most part it really doesn't affect her day TOO much. Before taking her to the pediatrician to get her looked at I wanted to check on her vision. We took a trip to the pediatric optometrist, and she is a little far sighted. We aren't going to do glasses just yet.
Emmy loved setting up all the little nativity figurines we have. Some are breakable, but none were expensive, so I like to let the kids play with them.
I don't even think this little munchie broke any this year!
Hot-off-the-bus after school gang
I'm including this picture because it shows one of the disgusting corners of Leah's blanket. She has always loved chewing on the corners of it and still does when she is going to sleep. I wash it often, but it always looks gross.
We took a trip to Bass Pro Shop with a friend to see Santa, but when the line was just too dang long we consoled ourselves with fudge.
Nothing makes my mother head spin like a request to set up a sale on the sidewalk. I want to support and encourage their creativity and entrepreneurship, but it's a lot of work, and there are usually no customers. This one happened over Christmas Break. The recorder and other instruments/noise makers were to attract people to the sale.
Probably our number one Christmas tradition is gingerbread houses using real gingerbread and a pattern from Nate's grandma's book.
Bless you San Antonio for allowing us to spend time outside over the winter break. We visited the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and picked beautiful, fragrant lemons and oranges.
Jansen's always excited about a chess game.
It looks more like fall in this picture doesn't it?
It was a great place with lots of space for the kids to explore, so we bought a year membership. We are looking forward to going back!
Leah is anxious to graduate to the bar stools, but that won't be happening any time soon. I let her sit up there sometimes until she violates the house rules and climbs on the counter. She loves her some cottage cheese.
Queen Emmy ruling on her purple throne.
This picture was actually taken on Christmas Eve morning. Nate had to work part of the day, and the weather was nice, so we went to one of the kids' favorite parks for a couple hours. They helped make this amazing stick fort even bigger and stronger and spent lots of time pretending with buddies.
We spent Christmas Eve with friends and had a wonderful evening at the Knight's home. Natalie was Mary for the nativity.
Following tradition, everyone opened a gift from "Mom and Dad" and got new pajamas and a book.
Big smiles from everyone on Christmas morning
This was a gift to the kids from me and Nate. It's currently rumbling and rolling in the garage. It's testing their patience as it takes about 4 weeks, but the rocks are already looking really cool.
A few more Christmas morning pictures
Emmy loves her hat. She says it's her "Seahawks hat," but Santa made it pink with a heart because he knew that's what she likes.
There is no limit to this girl's creativity. She used pipe cleaners from her stocking to make these special "sandals" for her and Nate.
Nate's grandma has kept all the artwork and other special papers and notes he has given her over the years. She sent him the binder of all of them for Christmas this year.
Leah was always trying to sit in a little friend's camp chair at Natalie's soccer games, so Santa brought her one of her own this year.
Later in the afternoon on Christmas Day we visited a nursing home near our church. Christmas can be an extremely lonely day when you are far from family, and things like this help brighten our holidays.
I can't remember why I took this picture, but I think the kids were playing follow the leader and Leah was in charge.
She has become quite the climber, and I often have to turn the bar stools on their side to prevent her from getting on the counter.
Emmy lost a top tooth.
We hadn't used our almost free visit to SeaWorld yet this year, so we made a trip at the end of December. It was fairly crowded but a beautiful day.
Nate bribed Jansen and Natalie to go on the Steel Eel roller coaster, so Leah and Emmy and I hung out and took pictures while we waited for them.
They did it! They were both pretty scared, and I'm not sure they'd go again, but Nate needs roller coasters buddies since I won't go, so I hope they get braver.