I can't even say how excited I am to have Lily home from school for two weeks! Aaron only works two days next week. We are going to have so much fun together! We started our Christmas break off great! We played at the park, then ate dinner at Culvers (kids' choice), then drove around to see Christmas lights.
My beautiful girl. When Lily gets home from school she changes out of her uniform into regular clothes. I love to see her choices. Today it was an orange shirt, a turquoise skirt, and a brown sequined vest tied together with her native american shirt tie. Luckily it sort of blended in with the turquoisy sequins and skirt. :)
We love teeter-totters. Uh, I think Carter and I make a pretty balanced pair, don't you?
Aaron makes everything so much fun. The kids can't get enough of him.
Carter played with Harold the helicopter in the sand almost the whole time at the park. He used to not like the sand because it was dirty...but now he loves it!
My honey. He's the greatest husband in the world.
Ummmm, yes, I still have six weeks left.
The not-so-great part of our break, which I won't even mention, includes being up with Lily for an hour in the night cause she didn't feel real well and some exciting times with Carter's diapers. I'll say no more.
Aaron is such a dream boat. He let me sleep in until 8:00!!! I don't know when that last happened. When I got up he had made pancakes for us all.
Carter got a train pancake. He thought it was the greatest thing ever.
Lily got a butterfly. Notice her lovely lipstick.
My dreamboat, right there.
More fun pancakes: a snowflake, a saguaro cactus, a circle, and a swirl.
My special pancake was baby Hazel all swaddled up tight.
After breakfast we worked our tails off to clean up the kitchen and family room. See, what a great start to our Christmas break!
We had fun decorating our Christmas tree. Lily has been dying to get the ornaments out. She asked me several times in the weeks before we got our tree if she could just get the ornaments out and look at them. Mean mom said no because if we did, we'd have ornaments and tissue paper all over the place until we got the tree.
We put our tree up the week after Thanksgiving. The kids were so excited. With every ornament she pulled out, Lily gasped and made a comment like, "This is so beautiful," or "I love this ornament because...." Both kids had a great time identifying their own ornaments and hanging them on the tree.
Carter has learned a lot this year about Baby Jesus' birth and the new star that Heavenly Father put in the sky at Jesus' birth. He calls it the Star of Bef-lem. It sounds so cute when he says it!
The ritual of putting the star on top of the tree has always been Lily's privilege. However, Carter is old enough to do it now too. Both kids wanted to be the one to put it on the tree. So problem-solver Lily came up with the great idea to do it together.
Jolly old St. Nicholas, lean your ear this way....
We got to see Santa Claus at our church Christmas party last night. Santa was so jolly and nice. Lily told him she would like a family of Lambies. Lily has mentioned a few different things this year when we've asked her what she'd like Santa to bring her. For several years she's wanted a castle for Lamby to live in. She asked for it a month or so ago but hasn't talked about it much since. She has also mentioned clothes for her stuffed animals to wear and a big white teddy bear as big as her with a red rose in its hand. She saw one like that at a yard sale a couple of years ago and loved it. Do you blame me for not buying a big used teddy bear to add to our already huge collection of stuffed animals? Well apparently, that teddy bear made an impression on her because she's talked about it since! We'll see what Santa decides to bring for Lily this year.
When Carter saw Santa walk into the room he ran straight to him! He's been excited about Santa this year. He says often that he would like Santa to bring him a train for Christmas. Unfortunately, Carter doesn't understand that he has to wait until December 25th to receive his presents. He was so disappointed last night that Santa didn't give him a present. However, I have a suspicion that when Carter wakes up on Christmas morning he will no longer be disappointed!
Our ward Christmas party was great, of course! Santa was a huge hit. Aaron was photographer and took photos of all the kids with Santa. He'll email them out to ward members later. Our dinner was headed up by Chef Cameron so it was delicious! He made his unforgettable potatoes dauphinois, for the third year in a row. Those potatoes had the effect on Aaron and me that the huge teddy bear had on Lily. We talk about and anticipate them all year long! After dinner we listened to some music selections and a reading from Luke chapter 2. I enjoyed singing Candlelight Carol, a sweet favorite of mine.
You may know how a gal feels during the last trimester of pregnancy. Tired, not enough energy to do what needs to be done, and uncomfortable in a variety of ways. (I'm not complaining, mind you.) Yesterday Carter and I were sitting at the table together finishing up lunch when I let out a big sigh. Carter turned to me and said, "What are you feelin' like?" It was the sweetest thing and actually took me by surprise. I didn't even realize I had let out an audible sigh and I certainly didn't expect my two year old boy to notice it and tune in to the fact that it meant I was feeling something other than great. What a sensitive little guy. I replied with a smile that I was just tired, but happy too. Then I asked if he was happy and he said "yes" with a big smile. Life doesn't get much better than this, does it?
"In the year of 1620 on a cold December day 102 pilgrims sailed into Plymouth Bay..."
Those are the first two lines of Lily's recitation for November. I love her school. She is learning about the history of our nation in ways that are fun and exciting. She has learned about the creation of our nation and the pilgrims who came here for religious freedom and fought with God's power to make this a nation of liberty. I love that the school is patriotic. Every morning they say the Pledge of Allegiance, then have a moment of silence for individual prayer, and then sing the Star-spangled Banner. I was at the school this morning for an assembly and felt a calm, yet powerful feeling as we observed those moments of patriotism and respect for God.
Lily receiving a "coup," an honor, from her teacher during their native american unit. Parents were invited to attend their Thanksgiving event in which the kindergarteners dressed as native americans and the first and second graders dressed as pilgrims. They taught us a little about the first Thanksgiving and then the children sampled a few Thanksgiving foods. I am so impressed with what Lily has been learning and making at school: the tunic and headdress shown above, wampam belts, native american musical instruments, a diorama, pottery and basket weaving, and the pilgrim costume in the top picture. I can't say enough good about her school.
We took a magical ride on the Polar Express to see Santa Claus. It was so magical!
Carter adores trains so this was amazing for him. In the days leading up to our train ride he would ask me if we could go now. "Pleeeeeease?" He was so patient.
Looking out the window.
Kids can wear their jammies on the trainride like the boy did in the story. We usually give the kids a new pair of jammies on Christmas Eve, but they got them early this year. I made these jammy pants from adorable cowboy and cowgirl fabric I found last year. I finally got them made!
We ate cookies and drank hot chocolate on the train. Beforehand we talked about the cookies and wondered if they would be yummy. The chefs on the train announced that the cookies were made by Mrs. Claus herself. Lily excitedly said, "They'll be delicious because they're homemade!" She was right. They were good...homemade is always the best! Aaron's cookie disappeared really quickly!
This was such a magical evening! As we read the book on the ride to the North Pole (we went through a magical tunnel that put us out close to the Pole), we wondered if we were in the same places the boy in the story was. Lily's eyes got big as we said, "Maybe we're going through a forest and wolves are watching our train speed by, " and "Maybe we're on a mountain too!" I love this picture of Lily peering out the window at the North Pole. She was in awe.
Santa came onto the train at the North Pole!!! He gave each child a bell. I must say, those are the best jingle bells I've ever heard ring!
We had such a wonderful time together! The evening was just as magical for me as it was for the kids. I loved watching them enjoy the magic of Christmas!
Yes, if you didn't know, I'm pregnant and this photo makes my tummy look huge! I guess it is, but I've still got 9 weeks to go!
I had a very happy birthday. My family made me feel very special that day. My mom made me a delicious zucchini cake. The zucchinis were grown in my dad's garden and the walnuts were grown on my grandpa's tree. Lily and Carter helped mom frost the cake. They love licking the beaters!
Dad was so sweet and thoughtful. He sent me off to get "that thing done to your feet." My first pedicure ever. Isn't that so thoughtful for a dad to come up with?! We had dinner at a restaurant that I love. It's called Neapolitan. It's delicious italian food.
As you can see, for Aaron it was more work than pleasure. He sure did give me a break by wrestling Carter that evening. He also made me crepes for breakfast that morning. What a dear.
Growing up my mom put a special table cloth on the table for our birthdays. To me, it's the epitome of birthday. You put that on the table and the whole house feels birthday-y. She was so sweet to bring it with her and put it on my table for my birthday.
Thank you, Aaron, Lily, Carter, Mom and Dad for a wonderful birthday!
In a word, "Wow!" is my description of William Joseph's live performance. Aaron and I went to his concert last night. It was a fabulous show. His music is new to me and I completely enjoyed the performance. His music is very powerful and full of energy. Aaron and I loved the show. So did Hazel. She was awake and moving through the whole performance. The other performers in his quartet were extremely talented too. He had a violinist, cellist, and percussionist accompanying him.
My very favorite song was Kashmir. I also adored an unnamed ballad that isn't on his album, as well as Shine, a new song. Check out his website (linked above) and you can hear his fantastic music. Thanks, Michelle, for introducing us to your talented brother's music!
He's an incredible musician! His performances are amazing. He'll be performing Saturday night at the Mesa Arts Center. Go see the show!
My mom and dad came to visit for Halloween! We're so happy to have them here!
We made our yummy sugar cookies. Grandpa got pretty fancy with the frosting.
Carving pumpkins was a lot of fun. Lily drew the cutest face with star eyes. Carter requested moon-shaped eyes.
Left to right: Carter & Jill's, Lily's, Grandpa's, Aaron's.
Lily dressed up as Tinkerbell when she was born. If you have a little girl, you probably know that Tink was not born an infant.
Ah! A witchy and a princess! That's the sweetest witch I know! Lily designed this costume for me. As I was hurriedly finishing sewing the kids' trick-or-treat bags, she came to me with this outfit and said it was my princess costume. It ended up winning the "cutest adult costume" at our church's trunk-or-treat activity. Way to go, Lily!
Our un-traditional Halloween dinner. I used to make pumpkin stew. But seeing as how Aaron and the kids don't like it, I've quite making it.
Look at those Halloween spookables! Carter did not like Grandpa's costume one bit. He didn't want to go anywhere near him. Hence, the crying. Lily wasn't too impressed with his costume either! I can't understand why.
Tinkerbell and Peter Pan! Carter loved being Peter Pan. After his bedtime bath he insisted on wearing his Peter Pan costume to bed. He was the cutest little Peter Pan!