Michael told the kids that on Christmas morning they had to yell his name from the bottom of the stairs before they could come up so at 7(?) we heard a yell and so we woke up Janelle and Stahle and had Christmas! Janelle got a doll house that I thought would be her favorite present, but she could NOT stop talking about the lunch box she got. Her friend, Everly, at preschool has one that she takes (because she has allergies and can't have the school snack) and ever since, Janelle has wanted one. She cried when I told her she couldn't take it to preschool today. But I will pack her child watch lunch in it and bring it at noon today while I got to bootcamp.
Everyone was really happy with their presents, Stetson's main thing he'd wanted was "I love that minifigure" book that talks about legos. He got a scooby doo lego kit that he put together in no time flat. During Christmas break I told the kids they could each have a day where they could choose something fun to do (mall, library, sledding, etc) and Stetson chose to take his scooby doo lego kit apart and have me help him rebuild it. Oh joy. :) So thats what we did! Kandace chose to have her nails painted and we haven't done Janelle's day yet.
After all the hoopla, we went to Mike and Rachel's where they were skyping with Cannon, then to dads where the kids opened their present (headbandz) from him, then we headed to Asays for more presents and a delicious dinner.
Landon and Kandace peeling the pomegranets, which is one of Kandace's favorite things to do since she's such a fruit fanantic. What a mess!
Here's dad and Stahle Christmas morning. Can't remember what was so funny. :)
Kandace and Janelle opening their Christmas pjs that Kandace had already ripped little holes in the wrapping paper about a week prior to because apparently she just couldn't help herself. I stopped putting presents under the tree after that. December is always hectic for me even though I start in November, I'm like the tortoise, steady and slow, here a little, there a little, but always doing stuff (shopping, baking, wrapping, etc.) I always think I'll get it all done early in December and have the rest of the month to enjoy the season but I'm usually working up until the end. We did mini creamy banana bread loafs to take the friends this year. It was simple, easy and worked out really well. One batch ended up making 5 little loaves, so we'd do a batch, deliver, wait a couple days, do another batch, deliver, and so on. I don't love baking so I try to break it up.
Christmas Eve was nice. We miss the traditional gnoccies at Grandma Asays and even tried to make them one year (well Michael did) and they were good but it made so much and so we've tried different things. Last year we did a cafe rio copy cat recipe of sweet pork tacos, this year we did a pork loin roast with a caramelized sauce with seasoned potatoes, spinach salad, garlic bread and sparkling cider. It was really good and it was a wonderful feeling to spend Christmas Eve with my family. Michael spent 4 hours between Wed and Thur night putting together a doll house for Janelle in the freezing cold garage. I sure love that guy. He is a trooper.
For the last few months, Tuesday nights have been totally nuts. 5:30 Stetson and I leave for scouts, then I take him with me to stake choir straight after in the monad chapel, and Michael takes Kandace to bball practice at the Y. Kandace's games were on Saturdays but I only got to see a few of them since I had music stuff. Kandace really liked playing!! She's not overly aggressive but she wants to be good and she tries hard. She is really good at defense, sticking to her man like glue, so much that she's oblvious to anything else going on on the court. She's going to play again in January.
It started with "dirt cups" that Janelle and I made from a pinterest recipe we found that turned out good. Melinda came over to babysit while I made the special delivery to school. Stetson was super excited to get to share treats with his class.
Stetson originally wanted to just go to gpa Simmons (like last year) or gma Asays to have cake and open presents but we talked him into the reef. He invited Aiden Mckenna, Dexter and Hank French, Cody B. and Brecken Waddell.
Everyone had a blast! Including mom! I went down the big slide in the double tube with Kandace about 4 times and twice with Stetson. Stetson got lots of fun stuff, his favorite probably being a lego kit (double decker couch) from the lego movie.
At 9 years old, Stetson
*is still one of the best breakfast eaters I know
*loves to carry Stahle, buckle/unbuckle her from the car and is really a big help in fetching me diapers, pjs, etc
*loves math trivia and is always quizzing mom, dad and anyone else
*likes 3rd grade with Mrs. Riehl and is doing really well in all subjects
December 14 we got totally dumped on so we got a call that night from the school district that we would be having a snow day (first one for Billings in 27 years). I was surprised because we've had crazy winter weather before and I mean really crazy winter weather in terms of temps and quantity of snow and it never snowed anyone down.
I'm never quite ready for all my kids to be home from school it seems like. Its always a struggle finding stuff to keep them busy and happy. Going out and doing things seems like a great solution but Stahle still takes a morning and afternoon nap so that puts a kink in our schedule.
On this day, we bundled up, made snow angles and Henry and Melinda came over for a little bit, too. Other than that, we stayed in all day.
A couple weeks ago we went to Michael's work and had lunch at Subway which is in the same building he works in. We also met Barb and Liz. Barb is a medical assistant who works with Michael and Liz is the other PA. Below is Michael's very own office, which includes his very own bathroom. Michael's job is going really well. He seems to be gaining more confidence as times goes on which makes it more enjoyable for him. Working in GI wasn't ever a dream job/destination for him but we are grateful he got hired so quickly especially right out of school and this will be a good starting point for him to give him the experience he needs to beef up his resume and prepare him for jobs in the future.
Its always a pleasure to go to Michael's work and meet the people he works with. He is so easy to get along with and people seem to like him. He said that only after about 5 days of working there, everyone had it figured out that he was Mormon. He says he can't quite figure out how he gives it away so easily. :) I think I know.
This year we had Thanksgiving in Cowley. We had Mike and Rachel and their family, Todd and Emily (hosted)and their family, Morgan and Fallon and their kids, Dick, Rhonda, Dad, Brenda, Marguerite and some extra friends from Cowley that Todd invited.
We were pleasantly surprised when Stahle let Grandpa Simmons hold her for quite a while. She loves to rub my eyebrows and suck her thumb so what is what she is doing to grandpa Simmons here. Silly girl
That night we drove to Asays and spent the night so Michael could help work cows the next morning.
One of the first things we did when we bought this condo almost 3 years ago was have someone fix the stair so our kids couldn't fall through. We had a guy come and he put 3 big boards vertically behind the steps to close the gap which made it safe but not pretty. It was my fault because when he came over for the consult, we must have had a misunderstanding and I wasn't paying attention when he said what he was going to do. So end of November we called Rick Dvorak and he came and put backs behind the steps, Sheetrock underneath and he mudded and textured the back so all we have to do is carpet and paint. He did a great job, he was awesome to work with, he even let me help with a lot of if which was great because it ended up saving us a lot of money.
Ramie Edwards in Lovell took some family pictures for us on Grandma Dorothy's farm. It was a hot day and pretty frantic trying to get everyone dressed and cooperative, but we got some good ones I think.