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...
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!