December 2015 Wrap Up //

December 2015 Wrap Up

Now that it’s newly 2016 I thought I should stop putting my December 2015 post on the back burner and finish it!   (This one will probably be a long one…don’t I always say that? *shrug*)

December seemed to go by really really quick due to the whole Christmas time hustle and bustle. We kinda were bad and didn’t really pay much attention to our budget (oops!) but it wasn’t that bad, since we are already starting to have some good habits. 🙂 Of course right off the bat I had some early month random shots to throw in the mix, that are always a lot of fun. I love seeing Nora’s little personality come out. So cute!

Getting to be home with her is one of my greatest blessings, I wouldn’t want to miss this for the world!

Practicing our “Rawr!”

Our silliness keeps me sane I think!

January is our month to try to start potty training a little. Last night she actually said “potty” after brushing her teeth and sat down on it for a good minute. I was probably not as patient as I could have been because after “mom-ing” all day I was excited to eat popcorn and watch a show with daddy. 🙂 As soon as we got back out to say good night to daddy though… she certainly needed a diaper change. So I think she’s starting to grasp the concept! She’s a smart cookie. Below here’s her getting used to her potty after I showed her what to do. Certainly “potty & tablet time” will be a thing I’m sure. We’ll tell ya how it goes. 🙂

I’m glad she’s finally okay with wearing hats when I want her to because it’s been awfully cold outside, so bundling up is a must!

Early December we also had a pre-dose of holiday family time with celebrating Papa’s birthday! It was so much fun. He’s such a funny guy, too.. since he had “updated” his t-shirt (see below) which used to say “It took me 80 years to look this good”, to 81. Gave us all a good laugh!

Nora & the cousins always have a great time too, we were busting up as Selah & Nora rode on through on their stick horses. Nora wants to do whatever Selah does! So cute.

Happy birthday, Papa!  He’s lookin’ pretty good sporting his new shirt, too!

Holiday family time ended up being really crucial for us, because mid-December we lost our Uncle Jeff. He had been battling kidney disease for years, so we could take some comfort in that he was no longer in pain & finally at rest. It is most heartbreaking to see people you love lose a son, a brother, a father (really any family at all)…it’s times like these that we take such comfort in our Savior, and are most blessed to have such a close-knit family.  It was in the past few months that my bonus mom was visiting and told me of these stories that Uncle Jeff had been writing for the kids (for quite some time now) during his dialysis time. He had even written one for Nora, which was so so sweet. Those stories are for sure treasures, and I look forward to starting a project to put them all in a book for the kids. During this tough time for the family I had kept thinking of the beautiful postcard Uncle Jeff had sent us one year, and after going through 2 house moves… I still knew right where it was in my filing cabinet! I knew it would be special to share with the family so I emailed it out. Later I partnered with my awesome sibs and we had it blown up and framed. 🙂 It was a most treasured present at Christmas time.

We will get into Christmas pics soon (perhaps it should be in another post… but maybe we’ll just make this one extra long. :D)

Here is a fun shot of my bonus sibs and I, plus friends out waiting to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens on opening night! It’s kinda nice now that movie theaters start shows earlier and earlier each year on opening night. I remember when it only used to be AT midnight….then I would fall asleep since I’m old. 🙂 This one was still pretty late, but stayed awake! Matt chose to see it later since he had to work the next day.

Jen & I had a lot of fun knitting while we waited, and overall just chatting / hanging out with the group. It was such a fun night!!

A little before the holiday my niece had said that she wanted to have a “fancy holiday party” so my bonus sibs hosted the most fun holiday party! They had planned a nice family dinner, with games to play after, and it just happened to be on a UFC fight night, so we were able to watch that as well!

Here’s some of our fun game time… cup stacking, trying to get the fuzz ball to stick on our noses (with the help of vaseline!) , opening a present with gloves on, and throwing cotton balls into a bucket!

Afterwards, Bethany read us the Christmas story from the kid’s children’s bible, and Selah played us a song on the piano. It was a really sweet time.

We ended the night with more music by Matt & bro Caleb, and then watching some UFC. We didn’t leave until late that night & I remember thinking how much I was looking forward to more holiday time.

Now onto Christmas!! (If you need to take a break and use the potty I can wait right here…… ………..  ……….) Okay!

So it was actually earlier this month that I decided (while seeing a pic on Pinterest) that I wanted to make Nora a felt Christmas tree! I went for keeping it simple and it worked up super quick!!  She immediately was down for playing with it… (while I was still cutting it of course). But after it was up she seemed to love it!!

I cut out some simple shapes like the stars you see, and a bell… ( I found some printables here on Pinterest). I really should’ve done more ornaments, but there’s always next year!!  I only managed to get a few done with embroidery thread & stitching, and I’m already looking forward to making more!

We got a “real” Christmas tree later that weekend and I was so excited to decorate the tree with Nora! It went… okay. 🙂 Well, as good as it could with a toddler trying to grab the lights and “help” constantly. Hee hee. I think Matt’s face says it all…

I was excited to show Nora the precious little felt Star Wars ornaments that her Auntie B made her last year! We had fun putting those up.

Here is a little collage of some of my other ornaments I was able to put up! (Top left) Embroidered Nora ornament with birth year from my friend Breezy over at Breezebot Punch (she does amazing work!), (Top Right) New Crochet R2D2 ornament handmade by my niece @ Hooked with Love , and the bottom two are this year and last years photo ornaments I ordered! I try to order one every year now. 🙂

Nora & I also had fun with this Advent Calendar! I just had to get one since I had such fun childhood memories of eating chocolate every day from it! 😀 She asks every morning for “choco” still. 😀 Good thing we were slackers, and didn’t get the Advent calendar until mid month… so there’s still chocolate!

My mom (a.k.a Nani) had sent us a big box of gifts to put under the tree, and Nora was just so enthralled with the wrapping paper my mom used, since it had dogs and cats on it. We would find her laying by it and pointing to the kitties…. even trying to hug them!

Along with the gifts my mom also sent some Christmas cash! We headed to the mall for a little fun family outing. We are big Amazon shoppers, and get nearly everything we do gift-wise online…so when we got to the mall, I panicked and was like “Oh my GOSH, it’s the holidays…should we even BE at the mall?? Will we find a parking spot?!” It was fine, though. 😀

I saw a cute kitty stuffed animal at Target and showed it to her, and instantly it was glued to her body. Now bear has a friend. 🙂 We were sure she would drop bear like a hot potato for Kitty, but bear is still tagging along. I also couldn’t resist getting her this little Leap Frog tool box, she loves to tinker (as did I when I was little) so it was fun watching her hammer and saw things.  Matt had been wanting to get her a bean bag chair, so this one in the pic fit the bill. Of course, we got home and promptly gave her said toys. Merry early Christmas! She still had a little under the tree to open. 🙂

And now fast forward to Christmas Eve! (I promise…. we’ll be done eventually) I’ll wait for you to go warm up your coffee…..

This Christmas Eve was particularly special because it was the first time in years that I got to spend it with my Dad. They have recently relocated back to Oregon from New Mexico… and we were so excited! Not only was it visiting with my dad & step mom… but also my bonus siblings & their family, and my sister & brother-in-law who I haven’t seen in forever, too! It was so great to re connect with all of this family that I hadn’t seen in far too long.

Nora instantly was glued to my sister! It was so cute the way she just latched onto her… and it was pretty much for the whole evening. I was sure she was going to try to go home with them!

It was such a fun-filled night of family, food, & togetherness & left me feeling thoroughly blessed.

We woke up Christmas morning excited for Nora to wake up so we could start opening presents! Opening gifts is sure fun as a kid, but it’s even more fun to watch your kid open them! She didn’t have much from us to open (since we were bad and gave her her’s early!) but we had a good time! Even though it’s Nora’s 2nd Christmas it really is feeling like it’s her first true one, since she is so much more aware of what’s going on.

I think she was stoked to get at those gifts!

Mommy & Daddy got her an Elsa doll with costume dress, an Aqua Doodle (I seriously LOVE this thing!) & a travel one too. She actually likes to suck the water out of the pen. *shrug*  She and daddy had lots of fun playing with it! She was super apprehensive of the Elsa doll though, and at first didn’t even want to touch it.

We got to video chat with my mom & step dad while we opened the rest of our gifts and it was really great to be able to do that! One of her favorite gifts that Nani & Grampa B got her was a recorded Christmas book. She loves turning the pages and hearing their voices!

After our morning at home, we then loaded up the gifts and headed over to Granny’s! I remember the first time I experienced a “Grandma Joyce Christmas” (yep, that’s what it’s called) It was Christmas Eve and was when Matt & I were newly dating.. and I had a large stack of gifts even then! No one does Christmas like Granny!

I didn’t take a ton of pics (I was so enjoying myself!) but I did make sure to take some.

Josh had gotten Bethany a viola, something she has wanted for years to learn how to play (top left). This was such a sweet surprise for her!  We had lots of fun play time, and Papa got up to play some golf with Nora! (Top right) Nora was excited to get tons of goodies & below there’s her and Auntie Jen playing with her Minnie Mouse playhouse (bottom right). And there’s Gram & Papa Wayne opening a sweet gift made by Jen of all the kids’ names and finger prints. 🙂 (bottom left).

I received the sweetest gift from Granny, too! It was this yarn bowl from an antique store in California that she had picked up! I almost cried from how thoughtful it was of her to get that for me! (top left) It was really such a fun Christmas day!

We got home, got Nora all tucked in… and put on our new sets of PJ’s we got for Christmas for movie time. What a wonderful month it was, and an amazing way to close the book on 2015!!!


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