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Friday, December 22, 2017

Joy in December

I did something fun and painted our Christmas card this year. I am loving my new adventures in watercolor painting.

 Grandpa built this fabulous baby gate to keep Chris out of the fireplace at his house. Chris did not appreciate being foiled.
 We dressed up warm and went to the Christmas parade in Caldwell. It was cold, but we had lots of fun. Chris looked like a little marshmallow boy.
 It was a great parade with tons of lights and music on the floats. The kids loved it.
 Chris is a bit of a Christmas tree menace. We moved most of the ornaments up high on our trees, and the ones that have been in his reach are constantly getting pulled off. 
 Mom and I made gingerbread houses with all of the kids one day. It was a rather terrifying experience. We may need more adults for this activity in the future.

 The kids had fun, though. That mischievous grin on Will's face is because he had already started eating his house.
The same day as the gingerbread madness, we made our annual batch of my Grandma's raisin bread. It is a major project. Mom was a bit busy while I was baking, and I was also distracted by two squirrelly children. We came out with 13 beautiful loaves, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I tasted the bread and realized I had left out the salt. Epic holiday tradition fail. It was edible, but just not what Grandma's raisin bread should be. It was a very sad moment.
 When Mommy & Sarah accidentally dress in matching shirts, we must take selfies. 
 My kids love Christmas lights. Sarah stretched her Little People city across the entire room and draped "Christmas lights" across the whole thing.
 Sarah has suddenly decided she is afraid of the dark and won't go to sleep without a lamp on. However, she usually piles animals on top of her to block the light so she can sleep. Silly girl.
Sarah is apparently the most enthusiastic singer in primary on Sunday. You wouldn't know it by her performance with the children at the church Christmas party. She stood in the front row with a scowl on her face and refused to crack a smile or sing a word in spite of much encouragement. She wouldn't even shake her jingle bell. She just stood there and held it. It was actually fairly hilarious to watch. Afterwards, I asked her what was wrong, and she said she was mad because she wanted a cookie.

 Photos with Santa were less than successful this year. Chris was not a fan. Sarah has finally decided that Santa is a good guy. Her request from Santa was a mommy for her stuffed seahorse, Sweetie. 
 We visited the Idaho Botanical Garden to see the lights. We all enjoyed it a lot in spite of the cold.

 One of Sarah's friends moved right before Christmas, so we had a gift exchange party with all of the sunbeams. It was a little crazy, but they loved it.
 I cheated this year and bought a roll of refrigerated dough to make sugar cookies. Sarah didn't know the difference and still thought it was a great activity.
 We went to the pet store and finally picked out Sarah's birthday fish. She is the proud owner of 3 lyretail mollies, named Mommy fish, Daddy fish, and Baby fish. By the way, taking 2 small children to a pet store and actually trying to accomplish something is the worst activity ever.
 Sarah was having a really hard time going to sleep one night. Kelson took her out of her room and snuggled with her on the couch by the Christmas tree and chatted with her about the meaning of Christmas and then read the Nutcracker with her. He told her she could sleep there for the night and she settled right down. Happy Christmas moment.
 I wrapped most of our packages in plain paper this year so Sarah could get involved by decorating them. It was a really fun way for her to join in the gift wrapping.
 So far this winter has been the complete opposite of last year. We finally got one snow storm in December. Just enough snow for the kids to have fun in. Chris enjoyed it until he fell and got snow in his face. After that he decided snow was not fun.
 Sarah loves the snow. She can't wait for more to come.
 One Saturday, Sarah and I left Kelson and Daddy at home and went to a musical production with Grandma, Grandpa and Anne. It was a great Mommy-daughter date.
 Anne was a little bit excited.
 Daddy and Chris came to join us for dinner and then we all went to see the Christmas lights in Caldwell. They do an amazing job.

Sarah all snuggled up with Sweetie for bedtime. She could hardly wait for Santa to come so Sweetie could have a mommy. Waiting for Christmas is so hard when you are 4!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Fun

We had lots of fun this November: days at Grandma's house, Sarah's birthday, a trip to California, and finally Thanksgiving. It was a fun month. Here are some of the moments that I didn't already write about in our other posts.

 Sarah loves to color, and now Chris is getting in on the fun too. He will color on anything once he gets a crayon or a marker in his hand. It is rather dangerous.
 We spend a lot of time dancing and twirling at our house. Sarah's dance music of choice lately is the Nutcracker Suite. She can sing her favorite Nutcracker songs. 
 We all had dentist appointments, and I was pretty nervous for Sarah's because she freaked out last time. No problem at all this round. She lounged right back in the chair and enjoyed the "tickly toothbrush".
 Chris is walking everywhere and climbing everything. He loves making Mommy nervous. Fortunately he is also pretty resilient. Bonks don't get him down for long.
 Kelson finished his recruiter training and is settling in nicely at his new job as the Naval Officer recruiter for our region.
 Sarah loves building with Magformers. She and Kelson come up with some pretty amazing creations. This one was a temple. 
 I went to JoAnn's to check out their pre-Black Friday sale. Both kids fell asleep on the way there and slept through my whole shopping trip. Best day ever!
 Whenever Chris needs comfort, he tucks his hand inside my shirt. We spend a lot of time like this.
 One of our Thanksgiving traditions is making hand turkeys and writing what we are thankful for on them. It is always a fun activity. Sarah told us all of the things to write on hers.
We spent Thanksgiving with my family this year. For the second year, we kicked off the morning with the Turkey Trot in downtown Baker. This year Chris and I joined Kelson. My time was terrible, but we had fun. 
When I asked Sarah what kind of pie she wanted to make, she was very insistent that we needed to make an Elsa pie. The best idea I could come up with was to make a chocolate pie (which is the only kind Sarah will actually eat) and top it with pastry snowflakes. Sarah was very happy with it.

I forgot to take any pictures at Thanksgiving dinner, but we had a wonderful day. We went to my Aunt Diane's house in Union and dinner with lots of our extended family. We have so much to be grateful for. It is truly a blessed life that we lead.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

California Trip 2017: More Disneyland, California Adventure, & Family Visits

We had 4 days to spend at Disneyland and California Adventure, so we had plenty of time to explore, do our favorite things more than once, and enjoy the festive decorations. My pictures are a little mixed up, so at this point, I am just going to throw them at you :)
 We started day 2 with the little kid rides in Fantasy Land. Sarah & Anne looked adorable in their coordinating stained glass Beauty and the Beast dresses.
 Sarah had no interest in Dumbo, so we went on the carousel instead. Sarah was obsessed. We went on a lot of carousel rides after that. Luckily neither of the carousels ever had a line.
 Mr. Toad's wild ride was a little too wild for Sarah.
 The teacups were more her speed. Sarah and Anne wanted to go fast, so they went with Kelson.
 We let Levi do the spinning in our cup. Let's just say it was nice and slow.
 We went to Toon Town and explored Mickey's house while we waited to meet the big guy. I didn't remember much about Toon Town from previous visits, but it was so cute!

Sarah rode the little roller coaster in Toon Town with me, and she loved it.

 Sitting in Mickey's chair
 The 15 minute wait time turned out to be more like an hour, but Sarah was determined to meet Mickey. Sarah is the perfect age for enjoying all of the characters.
 This is an excellent illustration of much of our trip. Sarah being a princess and Chris generally unhappy. His biggest problem was that we were constantly strapping him into a stroller. He got to have lots of snacks.
We ran into Pluto, and he invited Sarah to go for a walk with him. Sarah walked with him halfway across toon town without even looking twice at us. 

We ate lunch at the Beauty and the Beast tavern and had to try the gray stuff. It was delicious!

She got to go for a walk with Tiana too!

Driving like a madwoman
 Ferris wheel
 Another carousel!
 Dancing to the Mariachi band
 Another ferris wheel ride-this time with Grandma & Anne
 The Frozen show was really fun. Of course, I spent most of the show trying to control Chris and keep him from pulling the hair of everyone in front of us, and Sarah wet her pants on Kelson's lap right at the end, but other than that it was awesome. 

 Family shot with the Christmas tree at California Adventure

 Sarah was begging to ride the monorail the whole time we were there, so we took half an hour to make her dreams come true. She was a happy girl.
 A few curtsies from Rapunzel
 We didn't realize until later that Sarah was hiding during the family photo in front of the castle.
 Our last evening, we spent some time at Sleeping Beauty's castle. Sarah loved walking through the castle and seeing the Sleeping Beauty story. After I finished with going with her, she grabbed Kelson and took him through, telling him the whole story.
I just love my little princess.

The lights on Small World were amazing! They also did a light show where the lights changed in tune with music. It was awesome.

 Riding the rockets with Daddy
Riding the Casey Junior train

 Exploring Donald's house
 One night, I left the kids home with Kelson while I went back to the park for another round of fireworks and a few rides with my parents, Katy, and Anne. 

 Getting our wiggles out at California adventure
 Yet another carousel ride
On Friday, we randomly ran into one of Kelson's best friends from college and got to eat dinner with them. Small world!
The castle at night was so beautiful!
This trip was so exhaustingly fun for the kids that they had a rough time by the end of the day. The night we went to World of Color, we made a nest for Sarah on the back of our sit & stand stroller and she fell asleep right after the show. We had to prop her feet up on the bag strap so she wouldn't fall out. Sarah wanted to see the fireworks so bad that we decided to let her stay at the park the last night even though she was unbelievably tired. Fortunately she took a nap, slept through all of Fantasmic, and woke up just in time to end her Disney trip with fireworks behind the castle.
This was a magical trip, and we are so glad that we got to share it with all of our family.
On Saturday, we said farewell to our Hindman family and went to visit Kelson's family in Hemet. We got to see his Grandma, his uncles Bobby and Kevin, his Aunt Chandra, and several cousins. It was a great visit. 

 Everyone else drove home, but we opted to fly so we could get home faster and take less time off work. After our visit with Kelson's family, we hurried down to San Diego to catch our flight. The flight ended up being delayed, and we were at the airport for a couple of hours. The kids were great sports. The airline finally determined that our flight was so delayed that we wouldn't be able to make our connection in Oakland, so they put us up in a hotel in downtown San Diego for the night. We claimed our luggage, found a shuttle, and proceeded to the tiniest hotel room I have ever seen. Chris went right to sleep, but Sarah was up until midnight. We had let her nap thinking we would be on a plane super late. Oh well. Adventures. We ended up with $1000 in Southwest credit from the ordeal, so we felt okay about it.
The silver lining of getting stuck in San Diego (let's face it, there are worse places to be stuck) was that we got to spend Sunday morning with Kelson's sister, Pam, and her family. We hadn't thought we would have time to visit them, so that was a great blessing. We haven't seen them in several years, and it was wonderful to catch up. After a lovely morning at Pam's house, we finally made it on to a direct flight to Boise that afternoon and made it home safely. It was an exhausting week, but we loved it!