Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So This Is Christmas {2013}

Our Christmas celebration, in no particular order

Feliz Navidad! from the Barking Baby boys

BB has been learning songs non-stop at preschool.

Tonight, before rushing off to the Christmas Eve service at church

Candlelight service at church

Candlelight service

The little men were bouncing off the walls the entire service. We survived...barely.

Performing at church

Christmas cowboys

Hot cocoa and tree trimming

Hot cocoa and tree trimming

SS, burying himself in books

Friendsgivingmas 2013

Friendsgivingmas 2013

Friendsgivingmas 2013

Gingerbread house construction

Gingerbread house decorating

Winterhaven nativity

First ever homemade cinnamon rolls, for Christmas morning (taste tested on Christmas Eve)

This little Advent sticker countdown has been such a simple way to anticipate Christmas morning. The boys take turns putting the star stickers on each date. BB's preschool gave it to us! Along with our Advent Bible stories each night, for once I actually feel like I experienced the whole of Advent - expectantly building up to the joy of Christmas morning, the celebration of the birth of Immanuel, God With Us. 

This year's Christmas card display

It's THE year - the BIKE year. Can't wait!!!

And an encore performance, for the sweet dance moves.

Merry merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Graduate

This poor post has been in blog post purgatory for months. That happens a lot when I want to really convey all of the emotion packed into an experience - finding the right words takes time, time alone and focused, which I am short on these days with a four-year-old and a two-year-old. So I think I am going to post the abbreviated, photo-blasted version before I lose all hope of ever blogging again.

 Back in June we traveled Northwest to celebrate my niece M's graduation from high school!

Here we are, in my sister's beautiful backyard, just before Jen, M, and I ran out the door to drop M off at the graduation ceremony and then decorate the reception room.

Due to some technical difficulties, there were a few sad weeks when I thought I would never see that family photo (one of my all-time favorites as soon as we snapped it) again! I am so thankful my sister found the files on her computer, especially this one!

M's graduation was such a meaningful ceremony. The student speakers powerfully brought to life the uniqueness of each graduating student's struggle and triumph to complete their high school education. My sister did an amazing amount of planning and preparation to celebrate M's high school graduation accordingly. We enjoyed a reception after the graduation ceremony and a barbeque at their home later that weekend. M's artwork was on display at both events - it was like a private gallery!

Some art on display in the reception room, and my sister showing off her hard work

A scrapbook filled with hand-crafted pages commemorating all of Megan's schooling. I got to help pull and organize pages for this!

Proud parents, waiting for the ceremony to begin

The graduate walking down the aisle

Grandma and cousin BB cheering for M!

Proud Mama

Happy cousins and proud auntie!

Congrats M! (SS hung in for a while and then fell fast asleep. So many things aren't planned with toddlers bedtimes in mind, haha)

Celebration time! The reception, where M opened her gift that several family members (including us!) chipped in for - a Canon DSLR!

My sister and I have a cousin who also lives in the Pacific Northwest, a couple of hours away from her. By no shortage of miracles, our cousin's baby shower was the same weekend as M's graduation, so we all got to squeeze a little extra family togetherness out of this visit and trekked down to the Portland to shower Cousin C. 

Isn't she lovely?

The shower was so kid friendly - such a relief since my two active little men were in attendance. 

Sister shot!

When in Portland....

After the shower, we couldn't resist stopping by Voodoo Doughnuts.


The next day we transformed the dining room into another art gallery.

M has skills, fo sho. 

After we had said our goodbyes and headed to the hotel for a quick night's sleep before a pre-sunrise airport ride, we realized that BB's beloved self-chosen "Voodoo Guy" doughnut had not made the trip with us. Auntie Jen jumped to the rescue and made a late night drive to deliver said doughnut, all so that BB could feel like this the next morning.

Somehow, we were blessed with the two easiest kid-plane-experiences of all time. They quietly read, did their activity books, and slept the entirety of both flights. If only it was always that easy.

So proud of M for working hard and pushing through to make it happen for herself (with a lot of work and love and pushing through from Mom too!). Now she is a college student, working towards attaining her dream job of designing video games. Get it, M!