Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sarah is home, Part 2!

Trying to cram visiting a life's worth of friends into a two-week Christmas vacation is next to impossible, but we did our best! A priority was to spend an evening with the Kooimans, which was amazing and fun and a blessing, as always!!!

We have known each other for over over 19 years. We became mommies within a year of each other and I learned so much from her. She is one of my oldest and dearest friends because she has been there through good and bad, loved me when I've been unlovable, taken care of my kids, prayed for us, laughed with us, and cried with us. 

We love this family!!

At some point before Christmas my uncle hosted a small gathering for my Grandma - it was nice to see a couple aunts and uncles and cousins I don't see often. I wish more of the family was in town and could have come, but I know Grandma appreciated the time and appreciates every visitor!

What Christmas break is complete without a trip to Edaleen?

The first day that the cousins were here we had a little bit of snow, and since we were all equipped with the proper gear for just a little bit of snow, we had to head out for a snowball fight!

In the middle of the snowball fight, my baby brother said, "Let's do a mannequin challenge!" and literally, within 60 seconds, it was set up and I was recording. Even the 3-year-old and the 60-something-year-olds knew what to do! You can watch the video here. (Hopefully).

We also had a couple visits to see Grandma! I think some of these pictures are slightly out of chronological order, but that's OK. It was all during Christmas break.

Christmas Eve is always one of the "Main Events" for our families during Christmas break. This year we attended a candlelight service at a local church, which was immensely beautiful. Then, Grandma & Grandpa require pictures before presents.

Slippers for all the girls over the age of 10...and under 60... 

Somehow or another, that's it for Christmas Eve pictures. I'm guessing I was enjoying myself too much to be taking too many pictures. I know 3 things about this Christmas Eve:
1. There was tons of food.
2. There were tons of presents.
3. There was tons of love & laughter.

It was perfect.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sarah is home!

Sarah's Christmas break at home was awesome! The only part I didn't like was that she thought she should see other people besides me. Sometimes I wished she weren't so like-able, because then maybe no one else would have wanted to spend time with her and I could have had her all to myself.

Actually, Sarah was very good about making family time and being with us and her grandparents and her cousins and aunt & uncle. The break was just too short!

Since we lost our first day with her as a result of "Winter Storm Decima", we had to have our new tree decorating tradition on Sunday. First the girls got their new ornaments. That's not a new tradition. And I can't decide if Sarah should still get ornaments every year or not, now that she's in college and being an adult. But since she's a poor college student and I love her a lot, I bought her one anyway.

Sarah got an arrow...because arrows are all the rage and because when I saw it I thought of her and how she is fast and is on a great adventure being away at college. 

Bethany got an ornament that said, "Do Re Mi" because she's in The Sound of Music this year and she's one of the Von Trapp children. And the children sing "Do Re Mi."

Becca got a super sparkly Eiffel Tower because she's super sparkly and loves Paris. 

And poor Elise. She got a red truck with a Christmas tree in the back...for two reasons...1) I couldn't find anything else. 2) We bought an artificial tree this year and we didn't have our traditional trek to the Christmas tree farm to hunt for trees and drink hot cocoa and sit by the wood stove and since she's the youngest, she will have the fewest traditional Christmas tree treks, so the truck with the tree is to help her remember. 

It wasn't easy for me to give up a 40+ year tradition of the Christmas tree trek. I agonized over it. But after finding a tree we liked, and realizing that the local Christmas tree farms were running out of trees (& we had been planning to go *after* Sarah got home), we made the decision and I am happy with it. The tree was very tall and it was beautiful. 

Since we gave up that tradition, the girls said we needed a new tradition. So I thought and thought and thought (& asked advice from friends) about what could replace walking around in the mud looking at trees and eating donuts by the wood stove.

Well, not one new tradition could replace that, so I came up with two. The first was that we got very special donuts from the special donut place to eat by the light of the tree after it was all decorated. This new tradition went over very well.

The 2nd new tradition was a walk at one of my favorite places on the planet, Boulevard Park. And since it was SNOWING when we went there, our new tradition started off in a magical way. It was like Narnia, and it was quiet and beautiful and fun. Now if we could just guarantee it would snow every year...

I don't know who does this, but the tree-lined portion of the trail was all decorated with Christmas ornaments!! 

Since there happens to be a Woods at Boulevard and teachers always get Woods gift cards at Christmas, I treated my family to special hot cocoas and coffees and all that yummy warm goodness. 

It was basically a perfect day.

More traditions include going out for dinner with gift cards from school and driving around to see Christmas lights afterward...

And of course decorating cookies. 

We were also blessed with a fun dinner & games night with our favorite voice teacher and her family.

And this was all in Sarah's first 5 days at home! It was a great start to a great Christmas break!