Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas Break, Ivy's Birthday, and More

It was not our best Christmas this year. Lots of sickness, and a septic tank issue that led to massive house problems topped the list of why this year wasn't our favorite. But. There were lots--lots!--of lovely moments that broke through. Christmas isn't actually about us and whether or not we make piles of gingerbread memories and twinkle light moments. We celebrated the birth of the One who came to be with us in all our sickness and mess, and we made some memories besides. I'd say that makes it a success.

Ivy loved the tree.

possibly my favorite Christmas picture this year

Since Ivy's birthday is on Christmas Day (little stinker), we celebrated this year on the 15th with a family party (us, the Whatleys, my mom, Lena, and Laura). She couldn't decide between brownies and cupcakes, so we made brownie cupcakes! They were better in theory than in execution, but icing and sprinkles helped.

Of course, we made the traditional birthday banner.

When Laina turned two, I made her a green M&M dress. For Ivy, it was a purple cupcake dress that says Tiny Wonder. She loved it.

So proud of herself for getting those two fingers up! She tells me "other guys go down" (other fingers, that is) and shows me two fingers multiple times a day.

the brownie cupcake!

She liked it!

Ivy is seriously the most polite birthday kid ever. She opens each present slowly and looks at it delightedly, and then says "thank you for my present" without being prompted. She said "Thank you for my bike, Nona," about six times, and again when Nona was leaving.

be still my heart!

A few random December pics: At nap time, I put Mace down first, because Ivy takes longer. So Ivy tags along while we tuck Mason in and sing to him (current favorite is Raindrops on Roses, and he and Ivy both yell out the line "schnitzel with noodles!"). I love this picture.

It reminds me of this picture of nap time in January, 2015.  How things change in two years!

 I think we might have a budding artist on our hands. Ivy, right before her second birthday, told me she drew a penguin. Can you see it?

These two are good buddies. They sit here and play while I cook dinner, almost every night.

Christmas time! My mom and Lena and Laura, and the Whatleys, and Haylee and Jeff celebrated at our house this year. This was a few nights before Christmas--I love how everyone is crowded into one room doing their own thing but enjoying being together.

Park time on the 23rd. Look at him jump!

Because everyone was sick and the weather wasn't too cold, we spent most of Christmas together-time out on the back deck. It was really nice being outside this year!

Karolina turned three a few days before Ivy turned two.

On our way to Christmas Eve service at our church (first Christmas service in our new building!)

And sweet Ivy's last day being one.

Christmas Morning! We did stockings inside, ate a yummy brunch outside, and then opened the rest of the presents outside. 

Ivy tore her minion sticker in half and gave me half of it, like a BFF necklace. Sweet!

Ivy got a bitty baby. 

Ivy and Karolina, the fairies.

Her first day as a two!!

Candles in her banana. She LOVES us singing Happy Birthday to her. She LOVES her birthday.

Christmas night, we discovered that our septic tank had overflowed into the bottom story of the house. Thankful for family being in town and willing to help, we spent the next two days moving stuff out, throwing stuff away, ripping up floors and walls, etc. It's nowhere near done. Cory and Iain moved into Ivy's room, and Cory made a storm trooper in his bed with pillows and a wall hanging.

I took the kids to the park yesterday to get away from the madness for a while. It was COLD, wet, and windy, but they had fun. 

And in spite of the chaos, we managed to meet one of our Christmas break goals: teaching the boys to play hearts. Iain wins almost every time.

I don't have a good way to wrap up this post. It's New Year's Eve, and I don't have a tidy way to tie up the year. Some things don't start over because you turn the page on the calendar. We're still smack in the middle of the house mess/repairs/work, still have sick kids, still facing some not-fun stuff in the New Year, still facing challenges in our home and homeschool. But this I know: in this year and the next, He will be with us. And that is good.

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