Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Gifting

Another wonderful part of sharing the holidays together was the giving and receiving of gifts IN PERSON!!  (with the exception of our chilly Chicago fam!)  We've made it work the last few years with packages mailed off in early December and cyber exchanges on Skype, but this year was extra special.  
So, this wasn't exactly a gift, but if you could have seen how cute Caleb was about shining his shoes for the wedding you would have thought it was.  He even thanked God for Uncle Grant's help shining his shoes during his bedtime prayer.

Eden sporting her too cute Minion hat and stripy leggings from the Christie crew in Chicago.  Now she's all matchy matchy with Zia!
Everyone checking in with Grandma after opening her thoughtful gifts. 
Another fun gift from Auntie Em and Co.

Eventually they realized that they needed to turn towards the tree so that all the twinkle lights could sparkle like snowflakes. 
Sweet Lucas had already greeted Michele by saying "I have your gift for you.  Do you have your gift for me?"  I was trying to stop him from saying "There's a shirt inside the box for you."
Elise had planned this "fake out" for several weeks!  She really wanted to hide inside a box and surprise Uncle Ben.  In a game time decision, Caleb ended up "giving her" to Uncle Hayden but when she popped out she gave her gift to Ben...and Caleb followed with his gift to Hayd.  They were so pleased with themselves!

Lucas and Makari were eager to assist anyone in need!
Freeze!  Your gift will be ready shortly...
Star Wars Legos are extra special from Uncle Ben...who knows just about all the Star Wars trivia there is to know.
Turns out, Aunt Michele did have Lucas, too.  The living sand was a big hit! (as was the new James engine and tender)
Can't wait to get working on all our new Lego projects!  Thanks Uncle Hayd.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Home for the Holidays!

What a joy it was to share the holidays with our wonderful families after 3 years of being far, far away for Christmas.  Just watching the kids soak up the time with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins was a beautiful gift to Josh and I, with memories we will continue to treasure throughout the year.  Here are some pictures that capture just some of those moments...

Cuddles with Grandma and Grandpa are the best!

Brunch and play time with two of my oldest and dearest friends and their little ones = good for my soul.
Mail truck rescue from my parents' driveway!
Always making time to jam.
Elise learning to play the piano with Lyd...maybe it's time for lessons...
Nunchuck battle, of course!
I think there's almost always someone singing!
Rare sighting of the "Arthur Six" - one of these days I'm going to get a really nice family photo!
Uncle Sam "reading" some comics with the kids.  They are very good for an ego boost since they laugh at EVERYTHING!!
Hung by the chimney with care...
A dramatic reciting of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  I love hearing Elise read aloud to everyone.
Love my 'not-so-little' sibs.  

A very Lego Christmas!

Oh, the memories!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Showers of love.

After school ended on Friday afternoon, we whisked out of town to spend 10 days celebrating Christmas and Hannah and Chris' wedding in Pennsylvania! The first item on the itinerary was "A Bridal Shower" for my sister. Michele worked so hard to make her home into a beautiful and cozy party venue and the other bridesmaids and I did our best of arrange the portable details such as favors and food.  At 10 a.m. on Saturday (yes, less than 12 hours after arriving in PA) we all descended upon Hayden and Michele's lovely New Jersey home for a delightful morning of good coffee, good food, and good conversation.  So happy to be celebrating the soon-to-be Mrs. Hannah Zwakenberg!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Seven months old

Sweet baby Eden. We just can't get enough of your adorable smiles and the way your eyes light up when someone you love walks into a room.  You really really want to be on the move and yet, I don't think I've ever known a baby who was so content to sit and play with a toy or two in a room swirling with laughter, and chatter and other small feet scurrying by...  You're so curious and attentive to the details of this wild life around you.  I know you won't stay still for much longer, so we're going to soak up these sweet moments of watching you stay in one place and be so happy... without making any messes or getting into danger!
Introducing: Solid Food...the verdict is still out...
Your favorite perch in the kitchen.
Oh, that smile!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

For the birds!

Warm memories of my Grammie and my Mom fill my heart when I watch my little guys feed the birds and eagerly anticipate their visits to our back porch feeder.