Here's a partial list of some "little things" that have been going on around here leading up to Christmas:
My Dad came for a visit.
The kids were in Heaven about that little fact......especially when he agreed to race and race and race with the girls.
We've got an exceptionally competitive girl here who made him keep going 'til she won.
I love my Dad...
...and the imagination and creativity and fun he brings along with him.
He rode bikes with the girls to school one day.All the kids in the neighborhood adore him and it's no wonder why.
Dave's parents came home from Idaho for an extended time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We love having them around and the kids feel so loved that they've been able to come take part in a bunch of the Christmas festivities.
Nana even showed up for Claire's last soccer game where we huddled together and just about froze to death.
I know, we're wimpy here in the desert when it comes to cold, but man alive it was cold with no big coats (dumb on our part) and the icy wind whipping us in the face, then a little icy rain at the end.
But it was worth it to see that big smile stretched across Claire's face.
Grace had a band concert where she put her flute skills to work.
Let's take one more look at that smiley girl:
...And her cute band teacher:
I'm always amazed how these teachers can take a bunch of kids who have never played an instrument in all their life and instruct them not only on how to play those varying things, but also how to play together to make some sort of semblance of a tune.
We have read some good stories that have brought tears to my eyes under the tree:
And survived "cowboy day" at school:
(For some reason Claire is determined that freckles make a cowgirl.)
Lucy has drawn piles and piles of little people in pictures:
And I think they are so darn cute I can hardly stop taking pictures of them.
The kids did well in their Christmas piano recital.
I personally think Max's tongue-out tactic helped him nail his solo.
He and Elle did an awesome duet.
(I obviously need to take some videography skills classes and my kids need to take some reverence/respect classes from that cute kid in the chair behind them...wow he was good.)
And Grace asked her friend to do her duet with her.
(Apparently I am not good enough to be Grace's duet partner anymore. That is sad news that should kick me in the pants to practice a titch more.)
Elle carried around this "flour baby" for a week for her life-skills class:
She found some wing-dinger outfits for that thing.
I guess the purpose is to learn how hard it is to take care of a baby.
But I'm pretty sure a sack of flour can't cry, or keep you up at night, nor can it pull your heartstrings so much that you feel your heart could simply burst with love.
Hey, I guess we're taking baby steps here :)
Grace had another recital for an assembly at school.
Here she is wanting to see if her mother will really show up:
There we go, mom has arrived:
The band portion was followed by a handbell performance:
(Grace has loved going to school early a couple days each week to be in the hand bell group. They really were awesome!)
We had a serious sleigh-ride with the Young Women and Young Men in our church group.
On this thing:
Each year it's a tradition to ride through all the close-by neighborhoods with loud Christmas music playing and Santa in that front sleigh thing. The kids take turns running along behind and knocking on doors to get the people out to join in the sing along.
It's so fun to watch all the kids come out with their parents in their PJs and to see the smiles and beauty of the season shine through.
Claire and I had a "dentist/lunch Mommy-date."
And Grace and I got to go on a field trip.
I have to admit I was kinda mad about this one...I was kicking myself thinking "why in the WORLD did I sign up for this two days before Christmas break??" I actually shed a few tears that morning after sleeping for less than five hours three nights in a row and feeling so overwhelmed trying to cram everything in.
But then the second I saw Grace's sparkle when I turned up late (after watching Lucy's dance performance) it was all worth it. I had to leave in the middle to get to another appointment and then I was able to still join back up to walk all the kids home from the nearby Riparian where we had lunch.
Yeah, Grace is pretty fun to be with.
I got to go to Lucy's school party too.
She had some serious fun with stickers.
Ok, more to come...but for now I'm going to finish helping Grace and Claire with their Joy School teaching debut. They are doing SO great teaching five little girls about the value of service as I speak and it's melting my heart. They are trying to earn a few extra bucks so they can buy each other some nice gifts tomorrow.
I love that school is out and that we have a couple days to get ready together for the big day on Sunday. We have big plans and there is still time to soak in some more Christmas spirit!