Thursday, January 8, 2015

Back in the saddle!

Why hello, everyone!  It feels like it has been SUCH a long time since I have posted on here about anything other than kitchen remodel updates.  But it has been a busy busy busy couple of months!

Out entire family was sick with influenza, and the kids all had double ear infections and some of them had pink eye.  I also got pink eye.  It was crazy, but we luckily were able to kick all of our illnesses by Christmas Eve.  It was a Christmas miracle!  So we spent Christmas feeling happy and well, which was especially good in Ryan's case, since he left on Christmas day for the trip of a lifetime to Hawaii with my parents, in honor of his baptism earlier this year.  That trip deserves a post or two all of its own!

On Christmas Eve we all headed to the Barringers' house for Christmas Eve dinner, a live nativity, and lots of fun!  It is so great to have family nearby.  It was a delicious dinner, and pretty warm outside, so after dinner we took a stroll to enjoy some Christmas lights in Kelly's neighborhood.  Then we came back to the house and the kids put on a live nativity for us.  I was the director and my dad was the narrator, and it was a lot of fun!  We all had such a nice time.  We headed home around 7:30 or so, in order to get our kids all tucked in at a decent hour!

Christmas morning was magical as ever!  Except that the adults woke up early to a grumpy Hannah, who then fell back asleep, so all of the adults were hanging out in the living room, tapping our toes, waiting for the kids to wake up!  Now that's a first!  Finally they did, and they were all surprised and delighted with the stockings and the toy from Santa.  Then we all took turns opening our gifts, and it was a lot of fun.  This year I helped the kids make gifts for everyone.  Calvin made little notebooks, Ryan made some woven bracelets, and Sophie made little snuggle friends filled with beans that you can warm up in the microwave.  The kids were so dlighted to watch people open what they had made for them.  It was very sweet.

 Ryan and my parents left for the airport at about 11:00 AM on Christmas morning, and for the rest of the day, Calvin and Sophie and Hannah played nicely together with their new things and we had a peaceful, lovely day.  Hannah even napped on the couch with Michael for a while.

On Saturday it finally snowed!  So we made the most of it and did a little playing and sledding in the front yard.  Sophie asked Michael to take her sledding across the street where there is a better hill, and Calvin and Hannah were ready to go in, so Michael and Sophie had a little sledding time all by themselves!  Sophie was so thrilled that she spent the rest of the day telling Michael how much she loved him :)

On the 29th we drove up to Ironwood to visit Grandpa and Christy, and Abbey, Spencer and Melanie who were up there visiting as well.  AnnaMarie and co were kind enough to hamster sit for us while we were gone, and I think Chippy had more fun (riding on toy trucks is fun for hamsters, right??) than she's ever had in her life.  Our trip up north was delightful and relaxed, just as it always is.  The kids slept well, we all ate well, played games and hung out to our hearts' content.  I won monopoly, so that didn't hurt either!

Melanie was such a little dream.  We all love that sweet little baby!  Hannah especially loved Melanie, and always gave her special attention and love (getting attacked by a goobery 21 month old is fun for babies, right??).  Melanie got a set of cool rattles for Christmas, and one of them was easier for her to hold than the others.  So on one of our first days there, Abbey asked Hannah to give that one to baby Melanie, and that Hannah could play with the others.  After that, Hannah always ran that blue rattle over to Melanie right away before playing with the others, saying "BABY MELL-MEE!"  It was cute.

We had a lovely little New Years Eve celebration and watched all three Back to the Future movies.  Whew!  It was a late night.  Except for Dad, who went to bed early-ish so he could heroically drive to Minneapolis and back for us on New Years Day to pick up Ryan, who was just returning from his Hawaiian adventure.  What a guy!  I was super grateful to not have to make that drive!  Instead we hung out at home and went to visit Aunt Sherry, Uncle Brett, and their lab, Pearl.  They were so sweet and fed us super delicious pizza for lunch and had Christmas gifts for all the kids, which they absolutely loved!  Hannah and Sophie loves playing with Pearl, who is very energetic, and Calvin was absolutely terrified.  It was sad and funny all at the same time!  Eventually both he and Pearl calmed down and he was able to enjoy himself :)  It was so fun to visit with them.  We just love our aunts and uncles and all our family to pieces!

So Ryan joined us once again on New Years night, thanks to Grandpa, and was sooooo excited to tell us all about everything.  He felt very grown up!  He had such an amazing time, and I know he'll never forget it!  On Friday we played around and hung out some more.  I don't even remember any specifics, except that Janny came for a visit, and it was so much fun to see her, and we had a fish fry for dinner and then watched all of the Indiana Jones movies (except the new one because aliens don't belong in an Indiana Jones movie).  It was really fun!

On Saturday, Ryan and Michael went to the Snowmobile Olympus that Uncle Brett was party in charge of, and they had a great time!  Meanwhile, we got an email from Marianne saying that they were on the way to the hospital to have that baby (eeeeeek!!!!) so we went baby shopping and put together a care package to send, and wouldn't you know, by the time we got back, she had already had her!  That was fast!  Ellowyn Pamela Pease made her grand entrace, and both mommy and baby were healthy as can be!  What a blessing.  She has the most adorable chubby little cheeks of all time!

The rest of Saturday was spent making a nice dinner for when Christy's "friend" Bryce came over :)  We had ham and rolls and salad and potatoes and had a great time visiting with him.  He sure is a nice guy, and it was pretty fun to give Christy a little bit of a hard time about a guy.  She's all grown up!

On Sunday morning we packed up, headed to church with Grandpa and the gang, and left from there to head home again!  It was a great trip.  We love living so close to family!  I hope everyone had a delightfully merry Christmas and a happy new year!

And now, for a million pictures!  But I did forget my nice camera when we headed up north, so trust me, there would have been a ton more!

The live nativity at Kelly's house.  Calvin was Joseph, Evie was Mary, Ethan (Kelly's nephew) was the donkey.


Sophie was the angel, Ryan was a wise man with Kevin and Lily, And we also had some shepherds and a cow thrown in there, for good measure.


The kids back home and in their new Christmas jammies!


 The stockings all filled up after Santa came!


The kids' presents:


Santa brought each of them just what they asked for!  Ryan got a book about cool cars, Sophie wanted a Paw Patrol set, Calvin said, "Oh, I just want whatever Santa brings me!" So he got a bucket of army guys, which went along so well with the rubber band guns Michael made for the boys.  So nice when Santa coordinates gifts!  And Hannah got a broom because she is crazy about brooms.






Happy kids opening presents!


















Hannah took a little break to have breakfast with Olaf.




Christmas day snuggles:


Sledding!


Playing outside:





Michael is the best dad ever.





Having a sword fight with the new swords Michael made for them!

 

Delightfully snoozy kids on the drive up to Ironwood:



Haha!  Being a dork with Abbey and Christy.  We sent this picture in a package to Ellowyn.


Hanging out with Janny!


Sophie sure loved little Melanie!


Reunited with my big guy after his big trip!


Melanie and I likes to make silly faces together.


Snuggles:


Hannah loved doing water colors :)



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