December was filled with oodles of fun leading up to Christmas. Here are some of the highlights:
Sariah and her best buddy Carmen at the Pleasanton Holiday Parade. Our favorite neighbor friends will be moving to Virginia sometime between now and the summer and Sariah and I are already morning the loss!
Almost the whole gang at the parade. We froze our butts off but had fun and went to dinner afterwards at Fresh Choice. Then the hubbies took all the kids home in one car and left us grown up girls to do a little shopping at Stoneridge. Fun night!
We made snowflake ornaments out of toilet paper rolls and pipe cleaners. The idea came from Family Fun, my favorite magazine. I told the kids I'd submit the picture to Family Fun so that perhaps we could make it in the magazine next month . . . watch for us!
Eli's school concert. He was super nervous to perform and said he was a little embarrassed, but he seemed to enjoy himself and knew all the words to the songs he sang. After the concert he insisted on showing me a Santa display that his class put together for a decoration. His Santa letter said : "Dear Santa Claus, Please bring my dad a new car for Christmas because he has dirty diapers in his car, and rotten milk spilled, and it is too smelly. Sincerely, Eli" I was cracking up even more so when I read the other childrens' letters, all of which were quite expected and normal . . . Dear Santa, please send my sister a doll etc. Unfortunately, we can't dispute Eli's claims!
Meilani's school concert. She too seemed to enjoy herself although she didn't like me taking pictures of her. I can't believe how much she looks like me when I was a child. Although we butt heads from time to time, I think she and I are most similar, and I remember well the feelings I had at her age, so I try to sympathize with her when I can . . . being the oldest is tough!
My mommy and me, and 152 carmel apples! It took us all day to make them but boy did we have fun. The kids were remarkably well behaved during our project and all the friends we gave them to seemed appreciative. I think I might do something a little less time consuming next year. It took me one day to shop for all the stuff, one whole day (and night) making and packaging the apples, and another whole day delivering them (thank goodness for a DVD player in the car! The kids were troopers!).
Sariah as Mary in the Joy School Nativity play. She was such a great Mary and was so gentle with the baby doll Jesus. I had wanted to use Seth, but he was in a less than cooperative mood on the day we did the play. Here we're at a convalescent home in town visiting all the "grandmas and grandpas."
Our Joy School class: Ryan, Oriana, Violet, Carmen, Taylah, Aliza, Sariah, and Justin. Liam was in the play too since he was there, but didn't want to get in the picture. This is my 6th year teaching Joy School and the Nativity play has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions!
Mutti and Abba took the three oldest to see the Nutcracker ballet. They kids had so much fun and couldn't stop talking about the show when they got home, and were very excited to get to use binoculars during the performance. They dressed up and even went to a fancy lunch at Max's Opera Cafe in San Francisco. Mutti and Abba bought the girls new dress coats and Eli a new suit for the occasion. They looked so adorable. It was really a special day. Pam said the kids were extraordinarily well behaved and turned heads as they walked down the street. I love that I know the kids will be on their best behavior even when I'm not there. Since Liam is too young for the Nutcracker yet, he got to go with daddy to a snow park near our house where they blow snow on a huge hill. Liam had fun going down in the tubes and thought the escalator that took them to the top was equally as fun. Ben forgot the camera, but he and Liam had a blast together.
Holiday in the Park at Six Flags with my mom and Meg. Again, another chilly night in California. It was in the low 40's but it was great to get to use our season passes one more time before the end of the year. Ben who is usually never cold complained a bit, but I reminded him that I had it worse, having to nurse Seth in the freezing cold (how did the pioneers do it?)! Liam kept trying to take off his coat saying that the coat was making him cold. He doesn't get that the coat is keeping him warm, and that the weather is what makes him cold. That kid cracks me up!
Gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve. Liam ate more candy than he put on the house.
Sariah got more frosting on her neck and in her hair than she did on the house.
Some of the pieces to Eli's house broke so he had a lot of "gluing" involved. When he had had enough, he told me he wanted to finish tomorrow . . . I don't think so.
Meilani was pretty self sufficient during this project, but the other three needed a lot of help. Much to Ben's delight I agreed that perhaps this is a tradition that can go by the wayside next year. We'll try it again when the kids are more independent.
Seth had his first real belly laugh on Christmas Eve. Eli was saying "boo" to him and Seth was cracking up. So sweet. Glad I could capture it. He's such a sweet baby and is really interacting with us when we talk to him now.
Our "little" family at Grandmom's on Christmas Eve. I had the kids all dressed in their Christmas outfits, much to their dismay, then conceded at the last minute and we all went casual instead. I think we're all happy we did.
My brother Sean, me, my dad, my sister Megan, and my mom. Funny that my parents are in the picture together since they've been divorced for 25 years, but I'm glad they get along and attend family gatherings together. It makes it nice for my siblings and me. I think after all these years they're a little more like brother and sister than exes.
The Lafferty clan: Grandmom, her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Currently Ben and I are single-handedly adding posterity to the family!
Christmas morning. Santa brought: Meilani a doll closet and doll clothes; Eli a lego city; Sariah a doll, and horse; Liam a talking kitchen (and a whistle in his stocking which was the highlight for him); and Seth a mirror for the car. We got the kids books, a crayon maker, and a couple wii games. Ben received a machine that digitizes slides and negatives, and I got a belgian waffle maker. Santa was great to us.
I made my brother Sean a quilt out of his old t-shirts. I also got him a sandwich maker but had to yank it out of the gift bag on Christmas Eve when my uncle gave us a really nice gift, and I had nothing to give him! How embarrassing! I'm so tacky, re-gifting before even gifting! I told Sean I'll get a sandwich maker to him in the near future.
Getting in some cuddle time with Liam at my mom's on Christmas.
Eli cuddling with last year's Christmas present. Sweet Minnie wasn't so sweet at our house, so she's on an extended "vacation" at Gramy's. We do all still love her (especially the kids) but I'm just not quite ready for dog ownership. I'm glad that my mom and Meg have agreed to have her at their house so that we sill get to love her from afar (also my kids hate me less than they would if I'd given her to a stranger).