The Ward Christmas Party
Page held her annual Christmas Nativity. It has to be illegal to cram that many people in to one house. :) But it was fun! All the kids dressed up to participate in and act out the story of the first Christmas. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many loving friends.
Christmas Break snuck up on my this year. I attended the kids class room Christmas parties. Luckily they were at three different times, so I basically spent the day driving back and forth to the school. But it was important to them that I was there so I made the effort, even though it was entirely inconvenient dragging the two youngest around and corralling them in the class rooms.
Brynlee's class ate a pancake breakfast to celebrate Christmas.
Kennan's class had a pizza party
Cami's class played games and decorated Christmas cookies.
For girls club these girls did a secret santa for a family in the neighborhood. They were nothing but giggles as we delivered these presents. I wish I could do bottled that moment. It was pure delight to watch them doorbell ditch the gifts and run for their lives back to the get-away car.
For Christmas the Otto family got a bunny. They asked us to take care of him for a couple of days before Christmas. It was a good experience for the kids. They loved holding and petting the bunny. But it was decided that we will never get one for basically one reason...they poop too much.
Kim invited us to Christmas Eve dinner at the church with her family. They joked that they only invited me so that I would bring rolls. If that's the reason, its good enough for me. The kids and I were thrilled to be with this wonderful family. Derrick wasn't there because he had to work late. Apparently people still need medical care even on Christmas Eve.
Here the kids are decorating Sugar cookies.
Breakfast with Santa at the YMCA
Santa didn't have anything to assemble this year so he had come and gone and was probably asleep by 9pm.
I'm gonna write a book called "Christmas on the cheap: how to provide Christmas for a family of 7 under $200.
First, you buy your kids expensive Nike shoes for a fraction of the cost at second-hand stores. They won't care and it will still elicit this reaction, because, hey, it's NIKE.
Then you totally cheap out on the baby and two year old. Wrap up old toys for the baby (she'll never know) and give the two year old stuff that you've pick up for pennies from garage sales.
Then when your daughter is begging for a $115 American Girl doll, give her the knock of brand one that you find in the bottom of a bag of toys from a co-worker of dad's. In her mind it's the Real Mccoy!
Dollar store bubbles go a long way to bring a smile to the face of a child. So does anything that has Elsa and Anna "Frozen" attire for the 4 yr old.
Your son wants expensive Bey blades, no problem. You can totally find them good-as-new from a kid's resale store.
In truth, it doesn't matter what you spend, just feed them pumpkin waffles for breakfast and everyone will be happy. And Sticky. Don't forget to stuff their stockings with bubble bath.
And then to make it up to your kids for all the cool stuff you didn't buy them, just invite your friends over to bring a slack line to play on. Their smiles will last hours.
We were so thrilled to have the Franciscos join us for Christmas dinner. We spent Christmas with them two years ago (as pictured below). Look at how our families have grown!
We were heartbroken when we heard that our dear Grandpa Cahill had a stroke. Since he would still be in the hospital for Christmas Rebekah bought him a little tree and had all the grand-kids make ornaments to hang on it. I personally hate artsy-crafty stuff so I didn't give my kids much direction. They have such imaginations, here is what they came up with all on their own.
Cami decorated a mask. Kennan made a pop-out card.
Luckily Grandpa has recovered remarkable well and is now undergoing Rehab. He is 85 years old and we hope to keep him as long as we can.
This cute sweater Grandma Cahill bought for Brynlee when she was a baby. I have a very fond memory of going shopping with Grandpa and finding it on a great sale at the mall. It looks adorable on this sweet Emma.
I don't know why Derrick feels like sometimes there is no room in the Inn. He could totally squeeze in. I think he just secretly likes the couch. ;)
One of Derricks' co-workers brought us fry sauce from Utah. Brynlee was so excited. She has been craving it ever since eating at Woody's a whole year ago. I even made fry's for her to dip in it.
For my birthday my mom gave me this awesome thin and totally warm jacket from Costco. It's my favorite.
This is the day we went on a 6 mile bike ride/jog with the kids and Cami would of died if she hadn't had a helmet on. She lost control as she was ridding down a steep hill and went head first in to the pavement. I heard a loud crack as her helmet hit the road. Luckily her jacket prevented any road burn and she landed on the top of her head so her face was spared from being scrapped. Other than that it was a gorgeous day and I was so impressed with the endurance of these little legs.
Kennan is such a monkey! He loves to climb.
Grocery shopping with these kiddos is so much fun. It would be even more fun if I actually had room for my groceries in the cart. I remember my mom used to always shop at night so she wouldn't have to take kids, but I'm too tired and night and hate leaving Derrick so I always go during the day. These two keep me good company and keep me on my toes as they randomly and sneakily put things in the cart.
We were so excited to hear that Miriam was falling in love and on the verge of getting engaged to Miles Gevas. But the emotions quickly changed to weeping and wailing when I told Cami that Miriam could no longer come for her birthday because she would probably be getting married around that time.
I've been loving the insanity classes at the YMCA. I'm still not in as good of shape as I was after having Alyssa, but I am getting stronger.
And I love that as I work out I can watch Kennan through the window playing basketball. This day when I was dropping him off he said, "mom, why do you always take so long". But as I picked him up after my workout he said, "Mom, why are you back so soon, I'm not done playing." All my kids enjoy going to the gym.
But sometimes after all that playing you really gotta go....
Below is a picture of the "Rehab Bible". It's the text book that PM&R physicians use as a reference nation wide, and Derrick is an author in it. It was such an honor for him to be asked to help write a chapter for this new edition. Don't ask me what the chapter is about. I can't even pronounce many of the words in it, let alone understand what it's saying.
I saw this sign hanging at Jan Francisco's house and at first I thought it was Russian, since both her and Ben speak Russian. When I asked Jan what it means she told me to read it slowly. Haha!
My very favorite Christmas present was this T-shirt Jan made for me.
Sometimes my heart feels like it's going to burst with joy when I sit from a distance and watch my sweetheart play games with our children. He is so patient and kind to them. And they all respect him immensely. If they don't obey me all I have to do is mention their father and they shape up. I marvel at his abilities to command our children with so much gentleness. They ALWAYS listen to their father. I need to learn how to parent like him.
Oh those eyes!!! I'm completely smitten with this little 9 month old. She likes Pei Wei's noodles as much as I do.
Kennan is naturally very health conscious. He even likes to drink protein shakes. Silly boy.
During Christmas vacation we did a lot of playing with our friends. We went to the doeseum downtown and to a new park with the Petersons and the Franciscos.
Jan, Jodi, and I. These friends really are the best. I feel like they are my sisters. And people as Jodi and I all the time if we are sisters.
While at the Doesum Brynlee took off her glasses because she was playing with water and didn't want to get them wet. Jodi mentioned me that it looked like one of Brynlee's eyes weren't symmetrical. I had never noticed this before, but once Jodi pointed it out I became very alarmed. I went home and immediately made an appointment with the ophthalmologist.
The Ophthalmologist diagnosed her with Intermittent Exotrophia. Which is an outward-turning eye. It occurs most often when a child is focusing on distant objects or is tired or daydreaming. He completely changed her prescription. It was at a +4.25 and he changed it to a + 2! He said that she really didn't need to be corrected for her far sidedness, and that it was actually making one of her eyes turn outward. She looks different in her new prescription because they don't magnify her eyes like her old prescription did (which is a good thing). When she got her new glasses she said she couldn't see as well far away, but she didn't complain and said, "But the doctor said I need to wear these so I will." The Dr. also said I needed to look at her eyes 10 times a day note how many times I see her eyes unsymmetrical. If they were doing that 30-40% of the time then he would need to do surgery to correct it. But since wearing her new glasses I haven't noticed her eyes turning outward at all.
The Paulos family got go carts for Christmas and let us take them for a spin.
When I peaked in the see what Kennan and Derrick were working on I heard Kennan say, "I never want to be an engineer." I think he's like me and doesn't like puzzles or putting things together.
Girls Club! They drove around in the Rushforth's van, which is the very 15 passenger van that President Hinckley drove in around San Antonio to scout out the place for the temple to be built.
This is Brynlee's first real haircut (aside from me giving her a little trim twice). Her hair sure grows slowly.
New Years Eve at the Peterson's; Jodi is such a cute decorator. That girl sure knows how to throw a party!!
We played battle of the Sexes and Derrick rocked the toe touches! He also braided my hair!