Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, January 5, 2018

Ringing In 2018... Happy New Year!

One of these years, I'd like to get dressed up all fancy and go out to some fancy party or restaurant, and just be fancy.


This wasn't that year. ha ha We had my parents over for dinner and played games and just had fun together. Lots of laughter is bound to be a good sign for a new year!

I tried to do lots of little, special things throughout the weekend. Sometimes it's the smaller gestures that mean the most.

Our festive tablescape. Isabelle made the sign for me again this year.

Oh, and these are the temps we've been having for two weeks straight now. Not even kidding. It has only been above ZERO twice in the past two weeks!

I can't remember now what exactly the problem was- isn't that how it always goes- but Sunday morning I was just having the hardest time. Like emotional turmoil kind of hard. I couldn't stop crying in church. #embarrassing #stopitmom

So when we got back home, I threw on a few extra layers and headed out. The sun was shining and the sky was bright blue, but it was freeze-your-snot cold. And then the wind picked up and blew snow everywhere, including your face. Cooooold. 

I left alone and was happy to be alone, but Caleb found me ten minutes later. Honestly, I was annoyed. But then I came to my senses, thankfully, and felt so touched that he would brave the tundra to find me. He said he was worried about me and wanted to make sure I was okay. Aww. In the five or so seconds it took to take these photos, my fingertips were already numb. You can kind of see the snow swirling to our left...right before it smacked us in the face. 

I have a thing for crystal and glass in the sun, too. So pretty and sparkly!

Jonah kept making rainbows all over the wall and ceiling, and Lev was completely mesmerized. So funny.

You gotta have punch to ring in the new year!
3/4 jug Hawaiian Punch, a bottle of Sprite, and scoops of rainbow sherbet - I used my cookie scoop because I don't have a melon baller. So fizzy and good!

There's just something so magical about candlelight. It makes everything look so beautiful.

Isabelle quizzing my Mom a zillion random animal trivia facts. My Mom is such a good sport. After ten minutes, I was like, Okay, I've got dishes to do, floors to sweep, umm basically anything that may need tending to...I'm outta here.

Someone discovered he has a deep, deep love for cream puffs!

This was promptly at nine o'clock. Ethan was on his way out, and I was not feeling too well. I made it another hour or so. #lame Or #old. ha ha

We enjoyed a slow morning on New Year's Day. I was so happy to see the sun shining a second day in a row! Not only has it been freezing, it's been so dark as well.

We bundled up for ten whole minutes outside. But we made snow art. :)
Random question, but has anyone tried to boiling water thing where you toss it into the freezing air? I'd like to try it this weekend...

Mom. It's so cold. (And I'm just noticing now how that little bit of neck is exposed- bad bad bad. I'll have to get him some turtlenecks for outside play.)
But he loves it! He pitches the biggest fit when it's time to come inside.

When the feeling returned to our hands, we played with the play-dough that Daddy made the day before. I love fresh play-dough, especially when still warm, but cold, day old or older play-dough, truly makes me gag. Weird, right?

Isabelle and I also had a hot cocoa date in the family room and watched the Soul Surfer movie while Levi took his nap. I loved it, it was very touching and meaningful.

So everyone went back to school on Tuesday, and yes, I always miss them when they aren't here, but the stillness and calm was quite nice. :) Of course yesterday was a Snow Day and today is already a delayed start, so we have had lots of togetherness this week. And it's Friday! Hooray! Did anyone do anything super exciting for NYE? Tell me and I'll add it to my growing bucket list!

Here are some links to years past...I can't believe little Levi was so tiny last year! Aaaahhhh!


(I don't think I have a post from 2016...I was still throwing up regularly and pretty sure I was in bed by 8 pm that night, so I don't remember anything!)

Skating in the new year from 2015

A Year in Pictures photo recap from 2014

One of my most fun memories, our Day of Adventure from 2013

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Celebrating Our December Birthdays

This was the first year that we celebrated everyone's December birthday on their actual birthdays, plus a small family party, complete with hot cocoa bar, one of our favorite things about cold-weather birthdays. And it was fun, but it was also kind of rough. On me anyway. I think I'm going back to spacing things out a bit. Plus, I really dislike how certain family members are getting too comfortable in omitting their birthday celebrations and gifts and instead "lumping them altogether" on Christmas. I know gifts are not the most important things, of course, but it's the idea that they aren't worth the trouble of celebrating just because their birthdays fall close to Christmas. Birthdays are for celebrating!

Things never get wild or loud at our house. No, never. ;)

With a big snow storm, the first of several since then!, in the forecast, and basketball practices and work, we opted to do Caleb's cocoa pajama lights drive a little early. This was a great year in terms of pretty decorations. It seemed like everyone was in the spirit to make Christmas even more magical. That said, it was probably one of my least favorite rides through town. Now that they're all older, I'm thinking this is one tradition that has run its course. The hard part of parenting, for sure, giving up those things we've held dear for so many years.

Tradition is that Dad carries you out to the warm car so your feet don't get cold touching the ground. Levi is the last one, and possibly the only one we can actually carry anymore. 

And another Snow Day for his birthday! We had lots of fun sledding and playing in the snow all morning long.

My parents surprised us with donuts!

That night we celebrated fifteen years with ice cream cake...well... someone thought that our three season room would double as a freezer while someone else thought that that someone had simply put the darn thing outside. You know, in the actual freezing cold. So there really was nothing to salvage for cake. It will probably be a funny memory one day, but I don't think it's funny yet.

Then, on Friday, we had fancy birthday pancakes for Isabelle!

It was a balmy 6 degrees, way warmer than the -20 it's been all week now. We brought in homemade lollipops like usual for her class.

That night, we had a few of her friends over for pizza and a movie. Boys are loud, but girls are LOUDER. :)

Levi didn't quite know what to do when he wasn't Isabelle's usual center of the universe, so I let him help me with snacks. His pant legs and tippy toes kill me.
He kept grabbing the veggies and taking bites out of them, then putting them back. HA He held onto half a cucumber like a microphone and kept gnawing on it. It was pretty funny.

And now I'm getting everything ready for NYE. It's been a crummy day, my attitude is poor, and I'm really not in the mood for any festivities. Praying for a renewed spirit to salvage this day and the hope of a brand new year. Happy New Year to you!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas Day and Other December Highlights

If you've been reading for any length of time, then you know that we have two December birthdays within thirteen days of Christmas. Yes, it can be a little stressful, but mostly it's just magical and so much fun. I love celebrating my kids, but there is something truly special about having your birthday in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Here are some random pictures which highlight our month:

My Mom and I spent the morning together and brought Levi to meet Santa. I can't say I'm surprised by his reaction, but it did break my heart a little when he acted so distraught, like I had betrayed him. Poor baby. It took a long while for him to calm down, but when he did, we had a great time.

You can see it all over his face here: he isn't ready to trust me yet and has no intention of being fooled. Sorry, baby.

Twas the night before Christmas...

Levi was up early but I was able to coax him back to sleep, and then of course I couldn't sleep. So I did what I always do: go downstairs and light our favorite candles, turn on some music, and snap some pictures in the stillness of the morning. I've got to say, these colorful lights on our back porch made me smile all month long. Especially when they were covered with snow, which was a lot! It even snowed on Christmas day for us, making everything even more wonderful and merry. It sounds cliche, but it's true.

This was the only thing Levi tore into, after much coaxing. He was more interested in handing out the gifts, ha.

I'll be totally honest here. It's been a hard week. Lots of different personalities and natures to deal with in our home, and sometimes it certainly is not all sunshine and roses. Parenting is hard, no matter how you dice it. It can be discouraging, too, not that I'm trying to be a downer here, just honest. But we really did have a lovely Christmas, and I hope you did, too. :)
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