I have crammed a bunch of Christmas activities into this one blog entry. Enjoy.
This year, our family stayed home for Christmas for the first time since Michael and I were engaged. It was fun to start our own traditions and spend time together as a family. Annabelle, particularly, enjoyed the holiday. She understood what was going on this year and loved seeing Christmas lights, putting up the tree, presents, Santa Clause, and so forth. We talked a lot about the birth of Christ and she understood that that was the reason we have Christmas. But I think she was a little confused about how things like reindeer, Santa, and Frosty the snowman fit in.
Christmas eve night, we read about Christ's birth from the scriptures and then Annabelle set out some cookies and chocolate milk for Santa. When she woke up on Christmas morning, the first thing she did was check to see if the cookies were gone. Indeed they were and the stockings had been filled and presents were under the tree. She was so excited, she flew into my room and started dancing around and yelling that Santa had come. I was just as excited that morning because both girls slept in til 8:30. It was the best Christmas present they could have given me. I love the way Michael communicates with Annabelle...
Jillian was amusing herself one day while I was making dinner. She also loves to smile for the camera, although it looks more like she's eaten a lemon. (Excuse my hiccups that are present for the 2nd half of the video.)
There was a lot of fun sister time going on between Annabelle and Jillian during the holidays. Here's a sample of some.
Here are some of Jillian's feats that she's accomplished in the last week. Of course, I only got videos of her attempting the obstacle and missed getting a video of her actually overcoming it. Oh well.
The other day, I was bored of being in the house, but didn't feel like packing up the kids and driving anywhere, so I decided to take them outside in our yard. This would be Jillian's first time in the snow and I was interested to see how she'd react. Annabelle, of course, loved it and stayed outside by herself well past the time that Jillian and I came in. After I got Annabelle in her snow suit, I attempted to get Jillian ready. My cousin was kind enough to give us a snow suit that her girls wore when they were babies; however, it's a size 18 months and Jillian is not even a year. Since this was the only appropriate thing I had for her to wear, I put it on her anyway. It totally didn't fit, but I figured we wouldn't be outside for long and it would suffice. In this picture, my foot shows where Jillian's feet are. Once outside, I sat Jillian in the snow. For about 15 minutes, she did nothing but sit there and look around or watch Annabelle play. I picked her up and tried to involve with Annabelle and me, as we were playing in the snow. Here's a video of Annabelle holding Jillian and going down the small slide in our yard. Jillian enjoyed it a few times, but then started to get cranky. I think she didn't like being confined in the snow suit and, as it was too big for her, it didn't allow her to crawl or move freely on her own, which she did not like.
Yesterday, Annabelle and Jillian wore matching dresses for church. They looked so cute together by the Christmas tree. Oh, how I love my cute girls!Here is a video of Michael having a picnic with Annabelle He's so good at playing "pretend", you'd never know that he actually does not like the pretend food that he eats in real life. However, as you'll see from this video, he's not that bad.
We had our family picture taken back on May, but after a month it was already outdated because Jillian was growing so fast. Now, she's over 10 months old and I decided we needed another family picture taken. The photo shoot took place in the dining room, where we sat on some kitchen chairs. Michael found the right angle for the camera and used the 10 second timer. Annabelle has a hard time holding still for pictures and smiling for the camera, so it took several times before we got one that was satisfactory. When I went to pick them up, the photo lady asked me if I had permission from the photographer to order the pictures. She told me I had to have the photographer sign a copyright waiver. I told her the pictures were taken in my dining room with the self timer feature on the camera and she was shocked. She said they looked professionally done. And here's a cute video of Annabelle and Jillian playing.
This is my favorite time of year, but it always seems to be the busiest and therefore goes by way too quickly. Let me start with a little bit of an update. A few weeks ago, I posted a farewell entry to our truck. Since that time, we have purchased a replacement vehicle. We are now the proud owners of a Toyota Sienna. We were debating between an SUV and Minivan and ultimately decided that we didn't want to pay an insanely outrageous amount to fill up an SUV with gas. Instead we're only going to end up paying an outrageous amount every time we fill up. By the way, if you haven't met the swagger wagon family (who also owns a Toyota Sienna), you should check this out.
Jillian is crawling everywhere and likes to pull herself to a standing position. She loves to hold my hand and walk around the house. (Yikes, help me. I'm not ready for that stage yet!) She says and knows Michael and me by name (ma-ma, da-da) and is growing up fast. She's been teething for the last 5 months, but only has her two bottom teeth (which she has used to bite me and draw blood several times while feeding). She's got several more that should be coming in soon. (Although who knows? I've been saying that for the last 2months.) Annabelle's preschool is coming to a close. I don't know how she and I are going to deal with the reality of her being home all day every day. She's getting really good with the sounds the letters of the alphabet make and I have plans to get her started with reading after preschool.
We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with Michael's parents and brothers. I wish I had taken more pictures. We enjoyed ping-pong (I was really starting to get good with putting spin on the ball), swimming, pickleball, board games, and of course, tons of yummy food and good discussions. Thank you, Robert and Cynthia. Merry Christmas!
A few weeks ago, I traveled back to my hometown for my brother's wedding. I was very impressed with how well the kids (and I, for that matter) did on the airplane. There were many activities going on and a lot of people around, and we all had a blast. Michael and my sister's husband were not able to come, but the rest family were all there together and I loved it! This post will just have pictures of the wedding and reception, and the entry below will have pictures of other things. My two sisters and sister-in-law.
Awaiting the newlyweds to exit the temple.
Annabelle and Simon
My brothers in what has come to be known as a traditional pose for them.
The happy couple, my brother and his wife.
Annabelle loved Carolyn's dress and this is them twirling together.
Our beloved high school physics teacher who taught all six of us kids.
Here are pictures of things we did before and after the wedding. Annabelle and her cousin Simon (she's very lucky to have a cousin that's her same age and is so fun to play with) had such a blast playing. They did everything together and I am very impressed that for the most part, there weren't any problems, such as not sharing. There's too much that happened to write about, so I'll just post pictures.
I'm very sad to announce that the truck has died. Yes, Michael's beloved 1989 Ford Ranger is gone. We knew its end was coming soon and Monday of last last week, we talked about being prepared for an upcoming purchase of a replacement vehicle when the truck's days finally did end. However, we were not expecting that end to come only 2 days later, while Michael was driving it. Fortunately, Michael was at about as good a place as possible for the truck to suddenly die and he was able to maneuver the truck to the side of the road. It has since been towed to the junk yard and we are in the process of searching for another car.
After record high temps here last week (which I missed because I was having a FABULOUS time back in So. Illinois with my family for my brother's wedding- more on that later), this week we've seen nothing but snow, the first snow fall of the year. Although I should be glad that it waited until November to snow, I'm still not sure I'm ready for driving on the snowy roads, shoveling the driveway 3 times a day, and dressing my kids like eskimos every time we go outside because it's so cold. However, snow also makes me excited because I LOVE Thanksgiving and Christmas! This is my favorite time of the year and I just can't get enough of the holiday season.You'd think that since I was born in Alaska, I would be a pro at building a snowman; however, I have never been able to build one. I spent most of my life living in a climate that didn't offer much snow in winter and when I did have an opportunity to attempt to build a snowman, I could never make it even look remotely like one.
When I discovered on Monday that the snow we received the night before was perfect packing snow, I decided that I would attempt to build a snowman once again. After picking Annabelle up from school and putting Jillian down for a nap, Annabelle and I put on our snow suits and headed outside. Once again, my initial, feeble attempts were getting me nowhere. But then 2 neighbor boys came over and offered their expert advice. Within 10 minutes, we had a snowman! Granted, it wasn't the nicest one I've ever seen, but there was no mistaken that when you looked at it, you could tell it was a snowman. We tried using leftover candy corn from Halloween for the eyes, nose, mouth, and buttons, but there weren't sticking very well. Here is a picture of my very first snowman!
Annabelle can get Jillian to laugh really hard, but I've never been able to catch it on camera because as soon as Jillian sees the camera, she's stops paying attention to Annabelle and stares at the camera. Finally I was able to film a laughing episode yesterday. I was laughing so hard before I was finally in control enough to get the video camera. It's nice to hear Jillian laughing, since lately she's been very fussy due to her two bottom teeth coming up and constipation. She's also going through MAJOR stranger anxiety. You'd never know she's going through a rough time when you see the video though.
Annabelle says the funniest things. I don't know where she learned some of these sayings, but it sure is hilarious to hear her say them. Here are a few things she's said in the last week that cracked Michel and me up.
Michael: "Annabelle, why don't you put your stuffed bunny in your room?" Annabelle: "Okay, Dad, but I'll just go get him again after you're gone to work."
Annabelle: "Dear Heavenly Father, .......................... Bless Mom to do everything and bless Dad to do something."
Annabelle: "Mom, what are you doing?" Lindsey: "I'm going to sweep the kitchen floor." Annabelle: "You look tired. Go take a nap and I'll sweep and mop the floor."
Michael: "Annabelle, how about we watch baseball tonight instead of reading books before you go to bed?" Annabelle: "Sorry, Dad. No deal. Let's go."
Annabelle: "Thanks for doing my hair, Mom. I look so cute." Lindsey: "What about me, am I cute too?" Annabelle: "No, you're not cute. You're a lovely woman, Mom."
Annabelle (to me as I'm doing my workout video): "Come on, Mom. Pick your legs up higher. Don't be a wuss."
Our library was way too small for a town like ours. Because winters last so long, many moms spend hours at the library just to get themselves and the kids out of the house. The library was old and not very big, so it would get pretty crowed pretty fast. In March of this year, a new section was added on to the library. It provides a lot more room (although it's still a little crowded. The old part of the library is being renovated, but will be available for use soon) and is quite nice. Until recently, the book drop was just a normal book drop, where the returned items fall into a bin and the librarians have to sort through them. But yesterday, it was all different. You slide your library item though a slit in the wall, onto a conveyor belt, where a computer scans the item, processes it as "returned", and then the item travels down this long conveyor belt. Along each side of the conveyor belt are several bins that are separated into certain categories. Once the item has reached it's correct category, a metal bar pushes it off the conveyor belt and into the bin. There is a large window right next to the book drop so you can watch this process as it happens. It's way cool. Quite sophisticated for our little town.
After the library, we went to the park. Soon after we got there, a mom with 4 boys came. The 3 older boys aged from probably 3 to 6 years old and they were quite smitten with Annabelle. She was going down the slide when they first arrived and they immediately ran right over to her and started chasing her. They were relatively gentle and didn't push her around, but all they wanted to do was chase after her. Annabelle seemed to enjoy it, although she was running over to me for protection about every 15 seconds because they wouldn't stop. She was laughing, but it think it was kind of overwhelming to have three boys running after her, trying to grab her arm. I couldn't stop smiling. My 3 1/2 year daughter has already got the boys chasing her. Is this just a foresight of what her teenage years?I can feel the gray hairs pooping out just think about it.
Here's a video of Jillian's latest trick: clapping.