Christmas Day 2016

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through our ‘hood

The rain came pouring down just as hard as it could

But we woke Christmas morning to a beautiful sight

For snow had fallen on the mountains that night!


It really was an incredible view to wake up to.  After breakfast, I donned my new running clothes from my husband, and hit the road.  At one point, I was staring off into the glorious view as happy as could be, when I tripped and went rolling.  (Must’ve been a sight to see!)

Another fun sight was seeing, (but first hearing), my kids opening their stockings!

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We tried out our new frisbees from Grandma and Grandpa.  Super cool!

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And then… we headed to the fire station for a wonderful meal and a chance to see our favorite firefighter.





I am so blessed.  See you next year, Christmas!

Christmas Eve 2016

Celebrating Christmas Eve the day after our “Family Christmas” was kind of funny… but still so good!  We did our traditional casserole breakfast since Daniel would be working Christmas day, and not with us…



We went to the earliest Christmas Eve service at church, (BEAUTIFUL!), and then I spent the afternoon making lefse.  It was a thousand times easier this year thanks to my lefse iron and lefse stick from last Christmas.  (Thanks, Mom!)  And, thanks to Natalie who helped a ton!


We did our big present opening at night, which was totally different for us.  All week long, the kids said they wanted to open gifts Christmas morning, even though Daniel wouldn’t be with us, because they didn’t want to break tradition.  However, with a cozy Christmas Eve, Daniel home, and presents galore, they caved and decided Christmas Eve would be better after all.

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The breakfast was delicious… the lefse was fun… church was wonderful… presents were good…. but give me His presence over any of it any day!  Once again grateful to know the One for whom we celebrate Christmas!

Christmas Adam

I totally stole the title of this post from Under the Sycamore… Since Adam came before Eve, Dec. 23 = Christmas Adam!  This year, our big family celebration took place on Christmas Adam.  It was a whirlwind of a day with workers fixing a leak in our bathroom, social workers inspecting our house for foster/ adoption, and then all our family coming over for a big Christmas dinner.  But we did it… and it was wonderful!  Family is just so special…

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Both Grandpa’s!!!!


Daniel blessed us with amazing filet’s, roasted potatoes (cut by Natalie), roasted butternut squash soup, green beans, and grilled tglamb chops.



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Sierra proudly put together our cookie platter for dessert!

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It was such a blessing to have all the family… the next thing we knew, it was super late and the kids were all still happily playing with their cousins.

Today we’re off to spend Christmas at the Fire Station with our favorite guy.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests!”

Merry Christmas!

Wrapping Up


This year, the kids have each gotten each other presents for the first time.  Watching their excitement at giving has been priceless!  I snuck this shot of Sierra wrapping her sister’s gel pens at her desk.  She asked for wrapping paper, and when I brought her gift bags, she gave them right back and stated emphatically, “No, I said wrapping paper!”  I went back and brought her 2 rolls.  She was thrilled.

It’s hard to believe my babies are old enough to wrap each other presents.  It’s hard to believe they are more excited about someone opening their present than getting presents.  (Not totally, I am sure, but still!)

Natalie Turns 10!

My second-born hit double-digits, yesterday!  To celebrate, she had a friend spend the night and spent the day exploring the Disney Animation studio, thanks to a friend who works there.  We were so excited to take our artist to a place where amazing art happens.  We weren’t allowed to see the illustrators or take any pictures other than the lobby and outside, but we had a fantastic tour filled with lots of art and history!


At 10, the kids don’t have a birthday party but are “required” to go on a mission trip.  Natalie and I will head out this summer, and I can’t wait to share more about that.  For now, here was our day after her requested morning cinnamon rolls…




There was SO much art on all the walls.  The kids really enjoyed that part.  I was only allowed this one picture in the lobby.



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Natalie and our amazing friend and tour guide, Justin…





Coming home was a bit of a bummer… 2 1/2 hours of traffic, and then Malachi got sick and threw up several times.  Yuck.  Thankfully, Natalie’s friend kept us all entertained and we stopped at our favorite bakery to let Natalie pick out a selection of little cakes.  We saved her last present, (from Grandma and Grandpa), to open once we got home.


Happy birthday, my precious 10 year old!

That’s a Wrap!


Sometimes I wish I were a night person.  Our kids still go to bed early.  The house is quiet and still and it’s a perfect opportunity to get things done!   I can’t tell you how many times I have thought to myself, “I can do that tonight once the kids are in bed!”  But then the time comes…  despite my best intentions, I get in my pajama’s, crawl into my warm bed, turn off all the Christmas twinkly lights, and go to sleep!

The good new is, I am wide awake in the morning!  (Especially after my coffee…)  So while the house is not cozy and dark with twinkling Christmas lights, I do have the beautiful morning sun coming through the windows and a warm cup of coffee to sip and I can get to work.  It’s so nice now that the kids are older and I am able to simply shut the door and say, “Go play!”

All that to say, the presents are (70%) wrapped, and we are one step closer to being ready for Christmas!

Our Biking “Advent”(ure)

Natalie came up with the title… Isn’t it clever?  Last week I intended to blog about how Malachi is finally an official bike rider.  Sadly, I never got to it… or to much other blogging.  It’s seemed to take a back door with all the busyness of the season, but I am hoping to get back into my groove!  I thought today would be the perfect day to start with a post about our first official family bike ride with all kids riding on their own!

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Thanks to yesterday’s rain, we had several beautiful puddles, (or rivers, as Malachi called them).  We were also gifted the beauty of snow on the mountains!  I dared Malachi to bike through one puddle.  Silly Mom… poor guy almost lost a shoe in the mud and had to ride around with a wet, muddy foot the rest of the day.  Good thing he’s a trooper!


Of course, Daniel had to try out the little kids’ “jump.”

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Who says California doesn’t have seasons?  We stopped to play at the park for quite a while, then headed back home for some chili, homemade bread, and cheese fondue.

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I was expecting the bike path to be crowded.  It was empty.  I guess everyone is doing their Christmas shopping.  You couldn’t pay me enough to trade our beautiful bike ride for fighting the crowds at the mall.  I’d love to say I’m done with shopping, but no… Looks like I’ll be doing all my shopping online!  🙂


How has your Advent season been?  We’ve honestly had one of the best Advent seasons yet… we’ve been blessed with good health, my mom gave us a wonderful advent devotional, the weather has been gorgeous, (though we could use some rain!), and we’ve had some fun times with friends.  And, of course, we’ve eaten far too many peppermint Jo Jo’s!  Here are some Christmasing moments:

Thankful Thursday Christmas tea with friends:


Christmas tag making and dinner with friends:

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Christmas light walk with the family:

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I realize that this can be an overwhelming time of year.  I haven’t even looked at my Pinterest board!  I think what’s made it so sweet is just keeping things simple.  We have no “bucket list.”  Most of our fun has been somewhat spontaneous.   And, honestly, our morning devotional has really been meaningful.  Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift has truly been a gift to our family!!  (Thank you, Mom!)   We didn’t get to the Jesse tree ornaments and we haven’t done every activity.  (Like I said, we’ve kept things simple.)  In the past, I probably wouldn’t have even attempted it at all if I couldn’t go all out.  But, just starting our mornings focusing on Christ and doing what we can and skipping what we can’t has made all the difference!