We got our first snow right before Thanksgiving and I have been trying to be positive about it. We had none last season and while I, frankly, loved it, I know it's not good for the ecosystem and caused lots of fires and issues last summer. Sigh. I'll keep trying to appreciate winter.
Emma got to sing with Alex Boye in a concert at the INB performing arts center downtown. It was fun for her to practice and get a behind-the-scenes look at professional singers and concerts.
Gabe was put on the All-League team for his cross country season and had his picture in the paper. He was also invited to run at the regional Footlocker race in Southern California the first weekend of December. It's a big honor and is partly sponsored by the local runners club here. He flew there, stayed in hotels, shopped, spent a night at Disneyland. It's a legendary course, known to be very hilly and difficult and he ran his 5k in 16:48 and finished 63rd out of hundreds. The best part was that Grandpa Sherrill and Grandma Genie made the 6 hour drive down to watch him in Anaheim. They were excited to see him race and he appreciated the support. I loved getting pictures and real time updates! He also made some really good friends with the other runners from the league and he sees them regularly.
Levi got into the super "MINE DO IT" phase during December. So cute and excruciating to deal with!
Christmas felt stressful and busy this year. I work constantly on how to make it a happy, peaceful time and don't quite have it down yet. We visited lights, nativity walks, did our neighbor cookie plates, wore matching outfits, did the 12 days of Christmas for a family, made gingerbread houses, hosted my mom and Jeff AND decided to start the kitchen renovation (we got a significant discount be agreeing to tear up our kitchen in the middle of december). I hope the things we do have meaning and add to the happy memories and meaning of the season. Who knows?
We had lots of snow right before Christmas and did some sledding with the kids. Ryan as always was doing the 12 days of Christmas for ME and my favorite day was when we drove out to Idaho for a snowy 5 mile run and a yummy breakfast afterward.
Grandma Dorrie came a few days before and we took her to Coeur d'Alene to show her the lights and try a Hudson's hamburger. The next day was Christmas Eve and we had a few kids and adults come down with a barfy stomach flu in the night. We went back and forth about whether to do the traditions and decided it would be more fun on another day. We laid low on Christmas Eve Day and everyone perked up by the evening and we continued with our plans with our friend's, the Haslams. Usually we do a dinner in Bethlehem with the Daines, but they were gone, so we did something totally different. We had YUMMY Mexican food, a piñata, games and an always amusing reenactment of the Nativity.
Unfortunately, the rest of the family came down with the flu during Christmas eve night. Sigh. We woke up Christmas Day and did the usual and despite illness (it was a pretty short lived thing), had a fun day playing games, eating clam chowder, doing puzzles, etc. We did our Christmas Eve traditional movie (star wars!) and lunch out (brazillian) on December 26th when everyone was feeling much better.
The next big event was Levi's second birthday. It's crazy having a birthday so close to Christmas but we sure love Levi. I thought of activities I knew he would love and we did them all morning. Pet store, ride on the mall kiddie train, an indoor playgroup and Costco lunch. Grandma was still around and it was fun to celebrate with her. We made homemade (super yummy) chicken nugget for lunch and had a ice cream sundae for a birthday dessert. He knew it was his birthday, was dying to blow out candles and told everyone he was "two!"
The end of the season was a fabulous New Years Eve party at the Haslams. We dressed up, danced, ate yummy food, had a balloon drop, and kissed at midnight. The next day, Ryan headed up in 7 degree weather for the Boy Scout Klondike campout (he survived) and the kids and I visited the Lego exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Culture. Gabe is dealing with a stress fracture and has to spend 6 weeks not running to fully recover. We are praying he's ready for track in 3 weeks.
For the second year in a row we took advantage of the free cross country ski day up at 49 degrees North. This year we were lucky enough to have Grandma Nut visiting us and she was the best sport and headed up to learn to ski. It is such a fun day and plan to make it an annual thing.
January was SO SO SO SO gray and rainy. Most of the snow melted but it just was so overcast that I really struggled this year. I love January with it's new starts and NO major activies, but the weather was a big bummer. We usually only ski once a year and kept trying to find a good saturday to make it happen (this saturday I think). The highlight was anticipating the finishing of our kitchen remodel and our trip to Texas the end of January and beginning of February.