We started out January still kind of shell-shocked that we were HOME.
We hit the temple straight away (no temples in China) and I loved spending the morning with these three big kids.
We took Nana and Papa out for dinner and yogurt to exchange adventure stories. They went to Africa and we only just crossed paths in the airport (back here) when they got home as we were off to China.
Loved catching up with so many great friends we missed while we were gone and I only have one picture of a couple of them which I may have posted before but whatevs :)
Oh wait, here's another one.
Love these ladies.
School started back in the States after the big holiday.
The kids were actually pretty excited to start.
(Grace gets a friend in her pic. since she doesn't go to school with a sibling, poor girl!)
We got to catch up with all the great "little" friends too.
And I sorted through piles and piles of paraphernalia and keepsakes we brought back from all our travels to try to figure out what in the world to do with them all.
Claire got a new piano teacher:
Orange season is in late December and early January.
Oh boy I cannot believe how lucky we are that we got to salvage three beautiful little orange trees through the remodel process and they produce pure gold I tell you!
I had some cute little harvesters to help me pick them one day.
Here are the tasters and another baker...
Oh here are some more friends...(no particular order here...). Love these guys.
Pay Day is going semi-strong.
We did our "Dream" or "Goal"/New Years Resolution binders I talked about back HERE but never posted this pic.
Reading has slacked off a bunch since China...maybe I need to hang up my good ol' banner we made there (here) to magically make it come back to life. But we are still reading and I love when I get to do it with my kids.
But I guess she is kind of the star since January was her birthday month.
Amidst my birthday and Claire's birthday my brother had a birthday too. We like to visit him in his element on the big day.
And eat cake.
We like to "borrow" our neighbor's baby every now and again.
Wait, what's that?? Claire again??
Yep, doing the braiding chain.
Nothing like a good braid chain.
We took Dave's sister and her husband out to dinner for their Christmas gift. (We give to one sibling each year as per tradition in his family and we like to do "experiences" rather than "things" sometimes.)
Claire's friend from China continues to send her Chinese "lessons" through WeChat. It is the cutest thing ever. She explains the word and then says is so Claire can hear it.
A bunch had left by the time I remembered to take a picture but here are a few of us.
Elle is doing a film class in school (has been for a couple years and she loves it). I love this picture she took of Grace on the Great Wall.
I was mesmerized by this story from Humansofny:
I love so much to hear stories of people who are making such differences in the lives of others. It took one principal to help this kid out so much. I guess the guy doing the picture was pretty inspired too...inspired enough to go seek out the principal:
Thanks to one principal who really made a difference.
Oh man I love that.
Love that these cousins get to take gym together.
This one was interesting too:
I started volunteering at an organization called Brain Food (here). It is an amazing organization. I get to deliver the food to two of the schools they service.
Early morning scriptures:
A few more friends.
Lucy started art class with the most amazing art teacher you could ever imagine. I'll have to talk more about this some time...Lu and I are both on cloud nine about this. She is learning so much from this darling lady!
I love that Lucy wrote her little Chinese words in her school "agenda" where she keeps track of her homework:
Birthday lunch with sister-in-laws:
Kara was missing in the first one. And you can't forget Kara!
And I have taken 59 pictures of it but those can wait for the "February Little Things" post cause I'm sure we're all ready to wrap this puppy up for now.
January was a good one.