I'm giving fair warning right here and now that this post just might take the cake for most pictures posted ever. Lots happened in December.
It seems like December was a month of non-stop beauty-sunsets.
I had to pull over on my way home from dropping girls off in our cheer carpool for that one up there it was just so gorgeous. Pictures never do them justice, but I can't resist trying.
The beginning of the month was filled with Christmas cards...getting addresses right and stamping and stuffing and sealing always takes a small army.
Luckily I've got one:)
My car turned into a little office to get those puppies ready to dump in the mailbox.
Loved, loved, loved getting pictures and updates from people we love all month. Christmas cards are my fav.
The beginning of December was also Winter Formal.HERE.
Lucy got to go to a little American Girl birthday party which, as you can tell, she was over-the-moon about.
Grace helped me out with doing Claire's sock curls...I love hair-helpers.
...and dish helpers too.
I adore the magic of Christmas. Love that I have one who is still fully onboard (ok, actually one and a half).
(We have worked hard to train these kids to always ask questions and show love before asking for things, looks like Lucy almost forgot the most important part. Luckily she tacked those on at the end...)
We have the oldest "Elf on a Shelf" known to man (more about him back HERE). Poor guy doesn't move around much. Oh he tries. But for some reason he will go days on end without ever leaving to report back to Santa (or whatever it is he's supposed to be doing...)
Every year Claire and Lu come up with some sort of note or tactic to try to interest him in to more action. Here's what they came up with this time around:
A couple days later they miraculously did get a little note back.
We found out it was strep throat, poor girl!
We sent some little Christmas things to Max's friends and my nephew on missions.
We gathered some friends for dinner one night...
Took the girls on a special date to the Nutcracker.
Let's take a closer look at Lucy's late-night-photo-face:
She's sitting here right now as I type this laughing her guts out at that funny face.
Claire is joining on the artist-bandwagon and I have found some cute drawings around. Here are some sketches of some of her friends:
They came over for a little visit which we loved.
Love these little girls of mine too (including Lu who I think was in bed by this time).
It was gorgeous Fall in December.
We got to soak up a bunch of them.
Grace had cheer pictures:
...and random dinner-time pictures...
Meanwhile up at BYU...
Every once in a while during Max's time up in Provo we got sent little things from friends and family and on Instagram so we could know what the heck he was doing up there. I mean, don't get me wrong, he was calling and texting us constantly. Ha! Do you sense the sarcasm there? I sure hope he might be better on his mission, we are having a communication boot-camp this week :)
But I digress...here is a picture of a snow day up at BYU.
And making Dave's family's traditional Santa cookies:
Got a new calling and got to have all these great girls over for a Christmas dinner (back here):
Claire and a bunch of girls showed up bright and early to go on a surprise birthday hike for her friend.
They hiked up to the wind caves:
I did Art Masterpiece in Lucy's class. One of the kids was new and was the most polite and sweet boy you'll ever meet. Turns out I've actually met him before in North Carolina years ago, he and his family moved to the desert and I didn't even realize it. Is that a small world or what?
Later that same day I went back to bring some things to help with Lucy's class Christmas party.
Grace's friends put our little sport court to good use.
I thought this was such a cute neighbor-gift idea:
The last day of school before Christmas break was pajama day and "Doughnuts with Dad."
Now, I'm not sure you could get a more exciting day, at least in the eyes of these girls.
Love this expression too...
My friend sent me this pic of Claire and friends decked out in their pj's:
Our street was full of Fall glory. It takes my breath away every time I turn in.
I about had a panic attack that I couldn't be the one to do it, I wanted to be up there so bad, but I reminded myself that sometimes I need to calm down a bit. It was so great to have them soak up each other, especially since they can't come to his farewell next week (they've had a prior engagement set for over a year, but oh boy we'll still miss them!)
They took Max out to lunch at Los Hermanos in Provo...a place I think every one of my siblings who were living in Provo went to before their missions.
Then he took his last finals and hung out one last time with friends...
Good times right there.
More gorgeous leaves:
Nana was busy as usual with her traditional "Nana sleepover," "Teen party,"
I know there was caroling and pizza and staying up late, late, late and fun gift exchanges.
I am so very grateful for that woman and how she makes these kids' eyes light up so. The teenagers came home with just as glowing reports as did the elementary-age kids.
This is a random picture, but isn't it weird how little kids can navigate technology so well? Sometimes I just think it's so funny to watch them and wonder what technology will advance to by the time they're adults.
Elle with her University of San Diego State acceptance papers:
The sunset out our window:
I got to watch the BEST tennis doubles. Our family friend Eldar lives close-by and is a great tennis player so these three tried to give him a good game.
By the time I got there to watch there was some serious stuff going on. Wow, I wish I had it recorded because there were some pretty amazing shots.
Took these two with me to court. Elle was proving she does indeed have a license for a ticket she got.
Love these two cute cousins.
Grace had a little photoshoot with a group of younger girls. Her friend came with her to be her "assistant" and I got to help them check the lighting before the girls arrived. Love this location.
Elle took off with friends one Saturday to take advantage of the snow.
One Saturday we took the whole family to the orthodontist (who happens to be our good friend).
It was an early appointment so everyone was starving by the time we were done.
We went to see the temple lights (back HERE):
We got really serious about Saturday jobs. Lucy did a great job organizing the exercise closet and was pretty darn proud of it.
We went with a bunch of friends to pack food at Feed My Starving Children.
Dave proclaimed the 23rd to be our new family tradition: "a sleepover under the Christmas tree." We started out with games. A few of Elle's friends were here so they joined in too. I just caught the last part where only Grace and I were still at the table but just picture a bunch of us around that table playing away...as more and more of Elle's friends poured in. I guess she forgot about the family sleepover but man I love having her friends around.
On Christmas Eve morning they had a brunch at a manufacturing place that Dave helps manage.
They had a slide show of all the things they do there and it was impressive I tell you! These cousins were pretty delighted to be there together.
We harvested some oranges from our orange tree:
I had to take a picture of our chicken tikka masala spices I was making for Christmas Eve dinner because don't you think those colors are just so beautiful together?
...and Christmas Day HERE
and then on to Hawaii to soak up our boy HERE...