I thought when both my kids went to school this past year I would have all the time in the world. I spent a lot of it burning up the road between the two schools drop off and pick up times, 1/2 days, early release days, etc. It was so nice though! I got to go grocery shopping BY MYSELF, I started running in March (my plan is to make it to the Gate River Run next year), and I volunteered on the PTA and made some good friends. Here we are and it's summer again! I feel like when the summer hits it's way more intense for me than the school year. We go to the pool, the beach, the local water park and movies. This summer the kids started swim team and art classes too. What happened to just blissfully playing in the backyard? Our ward recently split and we were reassigned to a new ward, The Atlantic Beach Ward. Guess what??? I am not in primary anymore. I have served in primary for about 15 years (across three states) so it was a total shock to me that I was put in as the Relief Society secretary (women's organization) and the visiting teaching coordinator. My summer has been BUSY trying to help get the Relief Society organized. I was super sad about leaving primary, I would still prefer to be there, but it has come more naturally to me than I thought it would to work with the women. It's an exciting time for us, starting a new ward in Jacksonville. We planted our first garden this year which has been fun. We haven't had one since UT. A little harder here to grow but we got lots of tomatoes and hot peppers. The birds ate the strawberries, the cucumbers didn't grow, our watermelons are still growing.
We were fortunate enough to be able to baptize Kai in Pendleton when we were there over Christmas. He turned 8 in November, but we decided to wait so my whole family could be there. All the kids participated in the program. Matt put together an awesome DVD of Kai's life that we showed while they were getting ready. We are proud of Kai for the decision he made to be baptized. He's a good boy who tries to do his best. I am so thankful we were able to share this day with so many loved ones. Thank you mom, Bill, Jenny, Jaime&Jim, Jan&Lance, Lauri, Aunt Les and all the cousins for making this a special, memorable day for Kai.
Two days after Christmas we all went up sledding in Meacham (for those of you who know where that is at). It was the PERFECT sledding day, snow falling, lots of snow on the ground, fire going. My kids were in heaven. Jenny brought sleds from Utah and Jan brought her sleds up, but dang, you'll never guess what we found when we got up there... the bed liner of a truck. Only in Pendleton! The kids were more than happy to hop on in and go for a ride. It didn't go as fast as they had hoped it would though.
As I have read some of your blogs I have enjoyed seeing what other people's Christmas traditions are. I guess the biggest tradition for me is GOING HOME every year for Christmas. In 37 years I have only not been there on Christmas morning 2 times. Once I went to Oregon in December but had to come home early because Matt had a business trip the day after Christmas. The other time I had just gone for Round Up in September and couldn't turn around and go back for Christmas. Going to grandma's IS Christmas for my kids. Another tradition, we ALWAYS make gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve day (which Jenny had the ingenious idea to hot glue together this year), get Papa Murphys for dinner and have the children act out the nativity. Oh yah, the treats. We have LOADS of treats that get made on Christmas Eve day and they are fair game once Christmas Eve hits. We even let the kids get up and eat whatever they want on Christmas morning. I have noticed it's us grown up girls and the kids who eat the treats mostly. I don't see the husbands hovering over the treat plates. However, I did manage to catch Bill in the treats this year. Everybody congregates at my mom's about 6:30 a.m. and the present opening frenzy begins. After that, BREAKFAST, and no we don't cook. We go OUT to breakfast in our Christmas pj's. Our family totally fills a banquet room. I am so thankful for a husband who is game to make this excruciating trip each year, parents who put up with our lengthy stay, siblings who loan us cars so we don't have to rent them, everyone for transporting us to and from the airports. It takes a major effort to pull this trip off each year.
I think I would have to say this was one of the best Christmas' we have ever had. One of the biggest reasons was almost everyone in our family was there. It has been about 8 years since we were all together. My step-brother is serving in Iraq so he and his kids were not there. We had an uneventful flight to and from Oregon this year and help on both ends. Matt's dad took us to the airport and helped us unload at this end and Jaime was there on the other end to help us. When it was time to leave Kai SOBBED. He really loves his cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents and we don't get to see them often enough. When I asked him what the best part of the trip was he repeatedly answered, "FAMILY". I took tons and tons of pictures but will pick some of my favorites to post over the next little while (it has taken me forever to do the red eye with all the kids involved in all the pictures). We woke up to snow the first morning we were there so the kids enjoyed a fun trip sledding (we took another trip in the mountains after Christmas).
"I like my birthdays every one. Each brings a greater joy to me. But I can' wait until I'm 8 for then I'll be baptized you see..." For those of you who don't know this song, it's a song the kids sing in primary about baptism. Kai turned 8 in November and will be able to be baptized this year. We are waiting until we go to Oregon so my family can all be a part of this very special occasion. We live so far away and have not lived close to my family since the kids were born, so it's rare they get to share in these moments with us. My sisters, Jaime and Jan, were able to be here with us when Kaden was blessed which was cool. Kai started scouts in November which he has been looking forward to for a long time. We are proud of him and how well he is doing in school this year. He tries hard to do his best. Kai is very social, he makes friends easily. He is a smart boy and likes to spend his time building legos, playing his Dsi or reading his Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I actually let him have his first friend party at the house this year (I know, brave of me). He had a few close friends spend the night. I don't even have proof of this event because all my pictures from this fall (Halloween, fall festivals, Kai's b.day and the first field trip I chaperoned) were all erased.
I have been buying holiday pajamas for the kids since before they were born and I have NEVER seen Thanksgiving pajamas before this year. I happened to walk into gymboree one morning and found the last two pair (maybe the only two pair) in the right sizes so I snatched them up for the boys. Matt informed me Kai is getting a little too old for the "cute" pajamas, but how could I resist when this could be a once in a lifetime thing? AND you were waiting for this.... yes, they were on SALE, only $10 a pair. I admit that's a little steep for what I'd normally pay for their pajamas but dang, they are gymboree and brand new (not from a thrift store or garage sale). I think they look cute!