Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Good Times are Gone

The good times are gone, I don't like this time of year...the time after all the fun holidays and excitement of friends and family.  Christmas is over, decorations put away, yummy food is all eaten, and now it's back to school for the long haul until Easter (no, Valentine's and St. Patrick's Day don't count).  But even though I am sad to see the holidays go yet another year, we did have a great time.  We didn't really travel anywhere for the first time in many years, which make for a much more relaxing vacation.  I usually get crazy with all the kids home all day but this year I really didn't mind it.  It was nice not to have be driving all over town to a hundred different activities, working on homework, getting up early.  It was a great break for all of us.  My pictures are a little out of order but that's ok.  So we will just start off with Christmas then.  We had to figure out how to work it in our new house--we decided that all the kids would gather in Tyler's room and call to us to wake us up to see if Santa really came, and to let Dad get the lights on and the fire started.  The kids were so excited.

 Santa did indeed come.  The kids loved all their presents.  We did our 4 gift thing (something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read) which I LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Not only does it make shopping way easier for me, but it keeps Christmas in perspective.  They still get a lot of gifts--they get the 4 from me and dad, usually a small little extra one from us too, something from their cousin exchanges, grandma and grandpas too.  So they get a nice little haul but it isn't all about ME ME ME.  It works great for our family.  We even got Santa in on the deal--he brings each kid one nice gift, then fills up their stocking with good stuff, not just candy, and that's it.  Everyone got something they really loved--Tyler got a drone, Jake got a big fishtank, Maggie got Shopkin toys, and Joey got a big hot wheels set.  Here are a few pics from Christmas morning.

 Having less gifts give the kids time to really see what everyone else got too.  Here's Tyler helping Joey with his stocking.
 And Joey's "something to wear"!
 I get creative too--I'm no Scrooge.  Maggie's "Something to wear" was make-up.
 A happy bunch!
 Over Christmas break we went to am indoor climbing place for kids.  My mom had told me about it a while ago and I finally had a chance to take the kids.  It was awesome.  Joey was really scared at first and screamed as we tried to force him to at least try some stuff.  But once he figured it out he was a champ.  They had all sorts of climbing walls where you are hooked in and if you fall you just slowly go to the ground.  The different climbing walls were all different and challenging in different ways.  Joey's favorite was the Spiderman Square!
 Jacob was one of only a couple to make it to the top of this one--each of the wheels turns as you try to climb!
 This one you had to answer trivia questions to get the steps to pop up.  There was another one that you could race with a partner and make different settings, like random--the steps would randomly go up and down so you could fall at any moment. It was hilarious watching Tyler and his cousin Ben.
 Maggie loved it too.

 It was really a fun afternoon.

Eric is also trying to get the family into skiing.  He has grand visions of family ski vacations.  I have only been 3 times so far and am getting slightly better each time, but I'm still a green circle girl.  Jacob and Tyler and practically pros.  They ski all the black diamonds with Eric and do a great job.  No fear.  We put Maggie and Joey in a lesson over Christmas break as well and they both did good and liked it.  I guess we will see what happens over the next few winters, if Eric's dreams really do come true!
 It was Crazy Hair/Sock day at the elementary school last week.  We got a little creative.  Maggie's hair is a cupcake but it was hard to get a good picture.

So here we are getting out of order.  Rewind back to November.  Maggie turned 7!  Oh my, only one more year until my third child is baptized!  We had her party at a ceramic painting shop.  The girls loved it.  It was a little more hectic than I thought it would be, but at least there was no mess at my house!  The girls got to pick a small ceramic and paint it.  Then I had to pick them up a few days later after the place had fired them and deliver them to the girls.
 I brought the boys along too and even they thought it was super fun!
 Maggie wanted cupcakes with pink frosting.  Yum!
 As her little birthday tribute, I just have to tell you all how much we love Maggie.  She is definitely the girl of the house--a little drama queen, loves attention, a little whiney, but also loves all things girly--she loves dress up and make up, loves to hang out with me for a "girls' day" and loved pink and purple.  She loves dance too.  She is so sweet and I wish she would just stop growing up!  She loves to snuggle in your lap and just wants to be close to us all the time.  She cries at least once a week because she wants a sister.  But she still plays with the boys and can get rough and tumble with them when she wants to.  She loves clothes and dresses.  I just love her so much and wish I could freeze time!

She is taking a dance class nearby and had the chance to be a candy cane in their Nutcracker performance.  Boy did she LOVE getting dressed in her costume with all that makeup on.  She did so good at her dance.  She was right on cue and remembered all the steps.  It was so much fun to watch her.

We also had our annual Ugly Sweater Party this Christmas.  We invited a new crowd from our new ward.  It was a blast.  Everyone had a good time.  I made a Christmas tree sweater this year.
 Even though most days are the same with all the same stuff going on, every now and then my kids get a little inventive with their time.  Maggie and Joey decided to give me a show.  They dressed up all kooky and came to show me all their outfits.  These are a couple favorites.  I love Joey's face in this one.
 Can't you just tell how much Maggie loves to pose for the camera!
 Before Christmas we also made candy trains.  We did this a few times when I was young and I always loved it.  Of course, all the candy helped!  My kids loved it too.  They got super creative with their trains.  Trying to get as much candy as possible onto them for future snacking!
 Joey was so cute--he took such care to try to get his train just how he wanted.

 Tyler won for getting the most candy on.  He pretty much ended up smearing frosting all over his plate and dumping candy on it.

All in all it was a really fun holiday and I'm sad to see it go.  But we get to start a fresh new year.  Here's to 2016!