Wednesday, March 4, 2015

December happenings

My lack of blogging is a result of procrastination and a busy last few months.  Better late than never!

Our Elf Nicky made his usual appearance on December 1st.  We don't do anything elaborate with him.  He doesn't make messes or do naughty things (I have enough mess makers in the house).  He just shows up in a new place every morning and the kids have fun trying to be the first one to spot him.  He has become a fun December/Christmas tradition in our house.

This is our second year with our 9 foot tree, and this year we decided to do a color coordinating decorating scheme with it.  Last year after Christmas, we bought all of the decorations on clearance from multiple stores and it was fun to get to pull out those new decorations this Christmas season. 

Chloe has to read 30 minutes a day for school and I had a book I was reading as well.  I talked her into reading in our living room in front of the tree with me whenever I could- one of the coziest feelings!

Chloe had her well child check soon after her birthday.  We love our pediatrician.  Olivia wanted to be right in on the action and he very sweetly picked her up and let her help him examine Chloe.  Often times at the doctor, we come with all 5 kids in tow and he is always so patient with all of us, as we can be noisy and quickly over crowd a small exam room.

The first weekend in December we went to a big Nativity/Christmas event in Maple Valley.  The event is held at an LDS Stake Center and the gym is filled with hundreds of decorative Nativity scenes that have been donated by the public for the weekend.  You can walk around the gym and look at all of them and they even have a clipboard and paper for the kids with a scavenger hunt type game.  The paper tells them to find a nativity made from bamboo, from glass, etc.  Chloe and Mitch had fun trying to find as many as they could.

In the chapel, live music was being played.  There is constantly someone singing and/or instruments playing Christmas music.  It can be heard as you walk through the gym.  It is beautiful.

Another room had a "Christ Walk" where you can view beautiful paintings and pictures of different periods and events in Christ's life.

Another room had kid activities and crafts.  As soon as we walked in that door, we were met by 2 or 3 volunteers who whisked our kids away to help them play Christmas bingo and do various craft projects.  We had a hard time tearing the kids away from that room.

Another room was filled with props and costumes to dress up and make your own family nativity.  The volunteers in that room helped accessorize us and then walked us down the hall to the photography room where they had the manger scene and other props all set up.  Olivia was a big baby Jesus- sitting up in her manager all on her own! :)  It was really fun.

Our last stop was the room with treats.  It had a massive table just covered in various cookies, brownies, etc, all donated by the public.  I can't even imagine how many people and how much work went in to doing this event.  It was a fun afternoon.

Olivia discovered in December that she knew how to climb on our kitchen stool, which is usually propped up against our counter.  She felt pretty cool and loved climbing up when no one was watching and getting in to whatever she could reach on the counter.

One day I looked out our back kitchen window, which faces a main road, to discover a car had gone off the road into our property.

The fireman showed up soon after and I trekked down the driveway to talk to them to try and find out what had happened.  I was mostly inquiring to see if there had been any damage done to our property and to make sure that the driver wasn't going to pull anything weird and come after us later, legally.  The fireman were very stand-offish with me and were not very nice.  They did let me know that the driver saw a raccoon and swerved to avoid hitting it, and flipped his car in the process.

The police showed up later and talked to the driver- a young teenager.  I went down to talk to the cop as well, letting him know this was our property (which most people do not realize, thinking it is just city owned land).  The cop was a little nicer, but not too much.  He let me know that they didn't think any damage had been done.  I asked that after the car was towed out of the bushes, that if there was any damage done to please let us know.  The driver came up to me apologizing profusely.  He was the only one that actively sought me out and was the least bit kind or concerned that this affected us a little bit.

The kids were fascinated by it all and kept constant watch at the window.

Mitch has played baseball for the past two springs and one day decided he wanted to give his team baseball hats to the twins.  They thought it was so neat and wore those hats on random days for weeks.

We do a very laid back advent calendar in December.  This year I put a scripture in each slot so that there was always something in there.  On special days (when I remembered and had time), I would put in a fun activity or treat.  One night, the slip of paper said to find a new Christmas book to read somewhere in the house.  Our kids love little stuff like that and were so excited.  Ben read them the book before bed.

We had quite mild weather in December and the big kids would often play outside in the mornings before school when they had time.  Livy would watch them from the window, wishing she could be like the big kids.

One day after the kids left for school, I was passing by Chloe's room and discovered this paper taped to the outside of her door.  I thought it was hilarious.  Each sibling was required to say their individual passwords before entering the room.  The funnier thing was hearing the kids say these passwords throughout the month in very serious voices.  Getting let into Chloe's room is quite the privilege, apparently, and one privilege that the younger kids did not take lightly!

The twins had a program at school one evening.  We invited Cynde to come with us.  She came by a little early so we could exchange Christmas gifts with her, as she was heading to Utah for the holidays.  The kids were very excited to help her open the gift from us.

Olivia loved the decorative bowls!

Cynde helped Livy open the gift she brought for her- a very cute Elephant book.

For the older kids, she gave them their own McDonald's gift cards (every kids' dream!) and a bag full of peanuts with a slip of paper in each.

The slip of paper told them that she would take them to the zoo sometime in the next year.  Cynde gives the best gifts.

The program at school was called "Polar Puppy."  It had some winter/Christmas themed songs.

It was adorable, of course. 

They were so glad Cynde got to come and watch them!

December also means making and delivering neighbor and friend gifts.  I always procrastinate this and hate leaving in until the end, so we jumped on it early this year and decided to make it as stress free as possible by buying everything rather than making it.  We found some cute hot chocolate tins at Costco and tied some ribbon and a tag on each one.

The kids enjoy delivering them and it makes for a fun evening (two evenings this year).

For our ward Christmas party this year, we had an ugly sweater contest.  Ben and I had fun shopping for our ugly sweaters at Goodwill.  I'd say we had some pretty ugly sweaters, although many people (older people) commented that Ben's sweater wasn't ugly at all, but was actually quite nice.  Ha!

The Friday before Christmas I attended an annual "Girlfriend's Christmas party."  I had a feeling it would be my last year going and tried to soak up all the fun that I could and tried not to think about how much I would miss this wonderful get together.  So many wonderful people in this picture that I love!

The food is always fabulous

And there is always so, so much!

If I didn't already look and feel pregnant enough, after all the eating at the night's end, I definitely looked and felt even more pregnant leaving.  Such a fun, fun night.

I love Christmas Sunday.  I love getting a picture of the kids in their new Christmas attire, but I love the beautiful Christmas program with lots of music and signing and wonderful messages shared during sacrament meeting at church even more.  It is one of my most favorite Sundays of the year.