Sunday, February 5, 2017

December

We had a really, really busy December. McKenna got to go to a birthday party at a trampoline place and had a holiday movie party with her preschool friends.
We went to quite a few winter activities. This one at the library was really fun and they even got to sit on Santa's lap.  Brooklyn didn't freak out quite as much as I thought she would. 
McKenna lost her first tooth! She was so excited and told EVERYONE she saw, multiple times.  Ha ha ha. I feel like she is too young to already be losing teeth!!!
 
The Primary Presidency asked Richard if he would be Santa for the ward party. They did a fantastic job with the whole party and Richard just had a little part where he came in and told everyone he was really sad that everyone was focused on him instead of on Christ and then he went through a list of Christmas symbols that should remind us of Christ.  As he talked about each symbol, he pulled the item out of his bag and hung it on a tree.  Each kid also had a little tree ornament and had a sticker for each symbol that they could put on their own trees.  It was so cute!  
Then Richard went into another room and kids could come take pictures with him.  McKenna didn't recognize him in the performance but of course she did right away when we went into the room. Brooklyn would have NOTHING to do with him, even when he pulled down the beard so she could see it was him.  Everyone in the ward thought it was so hilarious that the kid who was most afraid of him was his own daughter!
We haven't had much snow here the past two years and even when it has snowed, it's been too cold to play in it!  We finally got a small dusting of snow and the kids put on their gear and headed right outside to make a snowman.  At least they got to play in the snow once this year! 
McKenna had her preschool performance which was SO adorable. She doesn't seem to like singing time at school and often stands by the teachers and doesn't really participate so I wasn't sure if she would sing or not.  But she did great!  She definitely knew all the actions and it was really fun to watch her get into it.
 
I decided to do the door decorating contest one more time and actually had a lot of fun with it this year. And to make it even better, I won second place and got $100! 
Even though Richard finished his PhD by August, he didn't make the deadline to apply for Aug graduation so he had his graduation on the 18th. His parents both flew it to be here for it and unfortunately got some of our coldest weather! It was freezing the entire time they were here.  Even though it was a super long ceremony and we were wrestling our extremely good girls the entire time, it was so fun to watch!  I can't believe he is finally done. 
Even though it was still pretty cold, we went to Zoo Lights and of course, the sound wasn't working.  I was so sad we didn't get to see it our last winter here!  They always have an amazing light show but it was still pretty to see the lights. We will miss this giant zoo!
The last part of our very busy month was getting to go to Holly's for our last Christmas together. She has been such a huge support to me out here and we will be very sad to not go to their house every Christmas, they have all been very memorable and fun. 
First we went to check out this tree made out of toys at the Museum of Art.  The grounds are enormous so we mostly let the kids just run around and enjoy being together. 
Sometimes I don't think Holly and I look that much alike but then I see pics like this and realize why people always think we're twins...
These cousins love getting together!  And every time we do there is less fighting so that's good :)
Christmas Eve we checked out their Conservatory.  In the first room, they had a scavenger hunt so we could look for lots of things in this huge holiday village.  It was actually really fun and the adults got just as into it as the kids. 
We spent a ton of time just running around the rest of it.  It was much smaller than our Conservatory in Columbus but it was really pretty. 
While Holly and I cooked (and Brooklyn napped), the boys took the other kids to the park. 
Then we had our usual nativity scene with some unusual characters. Instead of everyone fighting over who got to be Mary, Emery wanted to be baby Jesus, Kenna wanted to be a star, Kaylee an angel and Madeline agreed to be Mary. We had to convince Brooklyn to be a shepherd and the adults had to fill in the rest!
 
We opened our cousin and sibling gifts and Holly gave us this amazing Ohio painting to hang on the wall.  I kept wanting to make something like this anyway so it was perfect!  I love it and it will always remind us of our amazing time here in Ohio. 

Christmas is always different when it's on a Sunday. Because Holly had to be there early for choir and they already have 9:00 church, we made the kids wait until after to open presents.  They were very good about it and there was something so nice about putting church and the sacrament first before tearing into all the gifts.  Not only did it drag out Christmas so that they excitement of opening everything wasn't over in the first half hour after waking up but it also helped us focus on Christ and get our priorities in order. 
We were very sad to leave and happy to have had such an amazing Christmas together!
Our New Years Eve was the most boring it's ever been.  We had plans with friends but they had to cancel to be with their mom who was just diagnosed with breast cancer and Richard had a football game he wanted to see anyway so he watched that while I watched tv shows and worked on McKenna's stocking.  I guess we really are getting old!  2016 was a pretty good year and we can't wait to see what big changes await us in 2017!

November

Richard took the girls to a Day of the Dead celebration where they got to have their faces painted and then watch the movie "The Book of Life".
 
The girls know that they can't play on the ipad whenever they want but it doesn't stop them for taking a million pictures of the same thing anytime they find it lying around.  I have a ridiculous amount of pictures that are just blank but it's also fun to see what they want to take pics of.  I especially love the 
selfies I get :)
McKenna turned FIVE and decided that she wanted a mermaid party this year.  Since she has a birthday that is always right around Thanksgiving we had to do her party early to make sure people were still in town. I didn't have Richard there to help me and a lot of people had to leave early so it definitely wasn't the best party we've ever thrown but I know Kenna was so happy to have her preschool friends here.  And I worked super hard on the party so I guess it was fun for me too even if it didn't turn out how I was hoping...
 
We found out the Conservatory is open late on Wednesdays so we headed there for a fun night at the start of the Thanksgiving break. We had never been there at night before and they had all the main lights off and just little twinkling lights set up everywhere. It was also decorated for Christmas already and had a really fun, interactive light display in the art room so we had a blast.
Richard convinced the girls to watch the Ohio vs. Michigan game and Kaylee especially got really into it. She used masking tape to cross out any M's in our house, like they do on campus and wrote a note on everything blue that said "This is red". I loved seeing how she got into it so she could hang out with her Daddy.
 
I think someone was determined to make Kenna's fifth birthday not work out.  After the party fiasco, half of her presents didn't work like they were supposed to and we had to return them.  I guess the good part of that is she got to pick out exactly what she wanted! We were also all pretty sick so we didn't get out and do anything fun. Hopefully she still had a good birthday though.  She thinks that turning five makes her a big girl so she tells us all the stuff she can do now that she couldn't do when she was just a little girl.  We ended the night with chocolate cake waffles with mint ice cream and chocolate syrup. I think that's the only part of her birthday she really cares about anyway :)

October

One thing I will really miss in Ohio is the fall.  It seems to last much longer than fall does in Utah and the colors are amazing!  It's the only time it's not humid and windy here so it feels amazing and it's beautiful and you just want to be outside all day long. 
One Saturday the entire family was in a bad mood.  I'm not sure why we were all so cranky but I really didn't want to spend the whole day inside, fighting. We decided to check out a metro park here that we had never been to before.  It was HUGE.  We drove around forever before we decided to just pick a spot and get out. It completely turned our day around. We played pirates and mermaids, built a teepee, climbed trees, and explored, explored, explored. There is something about exploring in the woods that never gets old.  I need to remember this next time we have another bad day :)
Kaylee accidentally put on Kenna's pants!  Ha ha
We did our usual pumpkin painting but the girls also wanted to carve theirs this year and we decided to let them try it. They painted one side and carved the other. 
We finally got our family pictures taken, that I had been planning since July. Our outfits were definitely not appropriate for the weather and we were all freezing! Plus, all the trees had turned yellow so it was not my favorite background. The family pictures were a little rough but we did manage to get some ADORABLE ones of the girls. Which is good because they were WAY overdue! 

I also snapped this sister moment and it just makes my heart explode to see them together! They are the best.
 
We tried out a book club idea with some girls in the ward and had a party to celebrate reading Charlotte's Web with all the kids. I don't think my kids were very interested in this book but they were thrilled about the party! I made a spider cheeseball to go along with the theme. 
The girls looked so awesome in their Halloween costumes. We have so many chances to dress up every year, I don't think my kids even realize that Halloween is actually only one day!  
Trick-or-treating didn't start out very fun for McKenna.  On our second doorstep, she tripped on someone's foot and smacked her face into the pavement.  Poor thing got a HUGE goose egg. 
 It didn't take her long to cheer up though, knowing there was a lot of candy waiting for her if she kept going. Her poor head looked awful for the next couple days though!