Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 2013 Review

We started December with a touring of the new auditorium at our church’s original location.IMG_8078

Tossing the ball with Jackson, in December on a warm day!IMG_8129

I love this comparison of how our church building changed in just 13 months.Semi Circle Entrance

Dan’s company had a Christmas party at the St. Louis Blues game. We were in a box suite, HIGH above the game.IMG_8180

Our family of four went to downtown St. Louis to help with Christmas decorating in one of the urban areas that Dan and Katie serve with our church’s outreach team.IMG_8172

Santa made a private visit our house!IMGP0269

Letters from the kids to SantaIMGP0253

Dan took me to the Ambassadors of Harmony concert. This is a local men’s chorus that is SO wonderful!IMG_8231

I caught my sweet neighbors shoveling other neighbors’ driveways, unasked.IMG_8234

December was full of other Christmas parties, including this one at a stone barn. It was beautiful!IMG_8251

The sunrises and sunsets this winter have been masterpieces!IMG_8258

Katie graduated the D.A.R.E. program at school.IMG_8273

This picture is a perfect illustration of my life as a mother: everyone wants a piece of me! I was trying to have a private conversation with Katie, and Jackson couldn’t stand being banished to the hallway. He was desperate to get to us, so this was what he did.IMG_8288

And this photo shows one of the best parts of being a parent: bedtime stories and snuggles!IMG_8289

Katie’s first choir concert at school.IMG_8379

Katie was in a December crafting flurry, making some beautiful handmade gifts like this Doodad Cross for Dan.IMG_8414

We went on a family drive to look for Christmas lights. We saw this one tree covered in lights. It was impressive!IMG_8423

We attended our first service in our church’s new auditorium (at the location we first started attending, but not the location where I work!).IMG_8417

We celebrated Christmas with our extended family. This is my favorite photo of the night, after Jackson let one rip. (Gross and funny at the same time!)J Tooted

I had fun with my hairstyle and made a reindeer face on the back of my head.IMG_8540

Dan and I celebrated 18 years of marriage, and laughed at how our gifts to each other are so similar!IMG_8530

Annual Christmas Eve traditions of reading The Night Before Christmas and spreading reindeer food.IMG_8558

Christmas morning at home, and Dan taught Katie how to make my dad’s special cinnamon toast.IMG_8570

And Christmas evening with our extended extended family.IMGP0406-

My office is closed the week after Christmas, so the kids and I had lots of time to hang out and play with their new gifts.IMG_8584

One of my cousins married a woman who grew up in St. Louis, so I get to see them once a year at least. We had lunch together, and the kids came too.IMG_8600

I made my first chicken bone broth. Yep… I’ve never done this before! (Shame on me!)IMG_8706

Katie has a new creative outlet: clay charms! She started making a bunch as thank you gifts for people who donate to her Living Water International fund.DSC_0052

Katie made her first piece of clothing while at Grandma’s house for New Year’s Eve – a pair of fluffy pajama pants.sewing pjs

And THAT brings us to 2014. See you next year!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November 2013 Review

Katie likes to help with jobs around the house and sometimes, while she does this, Jackson likes to interfere with jobs around the house. While Katie and I did laundry, Jackson tried his best to distract us.IMG_7427

And once Jackson got in the clothes dryer Katie had to follow suit, of course.IMG_7432

Our church is about to start another chapter when we open a new auditorium (at our Chesterfield location) in December. There’s a tradition around our church every time we start something new like this. People are invited to sign the new space with handwritten prayers. Our family joined in and I was astounded by the depth of authenticity my kids’ prayers held.IMG_7571

A friend from church asked if we would babysit her dog for a weekend while she was out of town. I agreed without hesitation. Who could resist this face?DSC_9932

We had a “decades-themed” trivia night to attend, so I dug out my old Prom dresses and tried them on to see if any still fit. Thanks to the 25+ pounds I’ve lost by eating wheat-, dairy- and corn-free, I actually got the dresses on and zipped up. (But I was reminded how things change and sag over the years, regardless of a person’s weight!) The dresses will not be seeing the light of day anytime soon, but it was fun to pull them out again (and to wonder what exactly my teenage self was thinking with all these sequins and bows!).IMG_7623

The chill has started creeping in and I love taking time to stop and notice the changes. The white edge on this leaf is all frost. So pretty!IMG_7718

I have a new favorite restaurant in our area. I found out a local pancake house has gluten free pancakes on the menu. HEAVEN!IMG_7722

My friend Gina invited us to a trivia night and the theme was “decades.” We chose to pull out our ‘80s gear. Gina is too young to have much of it, but I got those “vintage” dresses out and selected one that was my mother’s. It is truly hideous. I wore my hair in an old banana clip I saved from my middle school days, and my black sequined shoes (which you can’t see very well) are from my senior Prom in 1992. I can’t believe this is what normal used to look like!IMG_7725

Jackson is really enjoying being  a part of his Cub Scouts troop. I went with him and the boys on a November Saturday to deliver grocery bags for food pantry donations. The entire 3 hours (yes… ugh!) was spent watching these boys run around (lots) and corralling them. But seeing Jackson walk with his friend and hold hands made it all worthwhile for me. Little boys who will love openly and unabashedly make me so happy!IMG_7783

Fall means our annual family photos. Just like the last few years, we loaded up our camera, tripod and remote control and tried to get some decent shots. This won’t be my favorite photos ever, because I don’t like my hair up in a bun. But it was last minute because the weather was nice and we had no other plans, so I tried to forget my hair and jump into the moment.IMGP9936-

After photos in the park, we caught the sunset at the park’s lake. The kids spent the last moments of daylight throwing rocks into the lake. I always marvel at how happy throwing rocks in a lake makes little kids.IMGP0079

Like most kids their age, my kids are in the throes of the Rainbow Loom craze. Yippee! I’m just glad you can enjoy the craze for not much money. Our kit only cost $10. Phew!IMG_7824

I finally had skin tests done in the allergists’ office, to supplement the testing I did last March with my Applied Kinesiologist. The results show light reactions (meaning 1 on a scale of 1-4) to wheat, almonds, pecans, cashews, cherries, beef, pork, turkey, and flounder. Since they are only slight reactions, I’m not going to completely change my diet again. I already avoid a few of those things, but I do not plan to give up beef, pork or turkey. Doing that would likely send me into an immediate nuclear meltdown – not a good idea!IMG_7858

Some of our neighbor kids came over to craft one evening. They made Rainbow Loom bracelets and listened to music and talked up a storm. I remember past craft times with them, and I’m amazed that now I can craft with them instead of overseeing every single move they make. And the older ones help the younger ones now too. Yes!!!IMG_7862

My kids are working on some sort of video gift for Christmas. I am not sure what it is, but I’ve loaned out my Flip video camera to them. I came across this “shot sheet” Katie wrote up, and I’m so excited to see what the final product becomes.IMG_7887

Katie and Jackson are eternal fort builders. There is always a fort somewhere in our house, or one that I just tore down. This fort was big enough for Dan to climb in and read bedtime stories to them.IMG_7960

Katie is in an advanced program at school, and it has been so fun to watch her grow and blossom. The program had a field trip in November. The local schools had kids from the program gather at the community college and break into teams and play games, solve puzzles, and build inventions. The parents had our own tables and challenges, which was lots of fun too. It gave the kids a chance to meet others from the middle school they’ll be attending next year, and I got to have a closer look at what the kids do together.IMG_7933

Dan and I had a date night, thanks to free tickets from our neighbors to see comedian Tim Hawkins. It was a nice chance to get out of the house and go laugh.IMG_8013

Katie inherited one of the posts from our church’s classroom. It’s a LARGE print out of a comic from The Action Bible. Since she loves comics so much, she was very excited to have this on her wall.IMG_8019

Thanksgiving was at my mother- and father-in-law’s house this year. The kids decorated the house for Grandma, and there were lots of cool signs hanging around.IMG_8038

The day after Thanksgiving, our family meet the in-laws for a movie (we saw Frozen) and then bought our Christmas tree on the way home. We got it at the local Boy Scout Christmas tree lot.IMG_8044

Our favorite summer nanny stopped by to surprise the kids as we were decorating the Christmas tree. Genevieve was home from college for the holiday, and it was SOOOO good to see her again.IMG_8053

Our tree was finished, the angel was place on top (by Jackson this year), and we even got a family picture in front of it before Genevieve left. I am really happy we have a real tree again this year. I love the smell!IMG_8055

While cleaning up one evening, I found a letter Jackson wrote Katie. I have no idea what he is apologizing for, but asked him to take a photo with the letter because it was just so cute.IMG_8072

I’m looking forward to December and seeing what it brings us!


Related Posts with Thumbnails