Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

The boys would tell you that this was the Best Christmas Ever. As always, they received only three gifts, but they were well thought out and much loved by the boys! I have to admit that the girls got a few more than three gifts each, but I justify that by telling myself that we needed more toddler girl toys. 

It's become a tradition for Mark and the boys to set off rockets sometime around Christmas day. This year they went to our local high school's field to set off their rockets on Christmas Eve.

In the evening we went to our church's Christmas Eve service. It was simple and beautiful as always. After church we got Chinese takeout, had our final family advent devotion, then opened stockings.

On Christmas morning we opened all our gifts and then hung around the house in our PJs while the kids enjoyed all their new things. Lucy especially loved her new keyboard and the boys spent a few hours building their new Lego sets. Then we went to the playground so they could try out their new scooters. While we were there we met up with a family we keep seeing around town (playgrounds, library, etc). My boys and the other boy (K) have always really hit it off well together, so all the boys were very excited to see each other. They begged if he could come over for the afternoon, and to their amazement, both moms agreed. So K spent the afternoon at our house. 

In the late afternoon (after we dropped K back at his house) we went to our dear friends' home for dinner, movies, and board games. It was a great ending to a wonderful day!  

Tommy and Ben got blow-up boxing gloves in the stockings, so they passed the early part of Christmas morning (as they were waiting for the Official Gift-Opening Time to come) beating each other up. 

Baby X with her new walking toy. Hopefully this will help her gain some balance and strength so she can start walking soon!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Season Fun

This has been a fun Christmas season! We took off the whole month of December from school so we could have more time to relax and do Christmassy things. Our tradition has been to sit down together the weekend after Thanksgiving and come up with a 'bucket list' of holiday things we want to do over the next month. This year I was realistic and rather minimalist in what I added to our list and I'm happy to say that we checked off almost everything on our list!

No Christmas season is complete without a trip through Willow Glen to look at all the amazing holiday lights with a stop for hot chocolate in the middle. 

Found an awesome Christmas tree while doing some shopping

Gingerbread houses

Paper snowflakes

More paper snowflakes with watercolors

We got outside as much as possible this month. It rained a lot, so that meant lots of puddle stomping.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

El Toro Hike

This weekend Mark and I had the opportunity to go for a hike .... without kids! We hiked up El Toro, the highest peak in our town. It was one of the foggiest mornings I've seen in a long time (in the picture below you can even see the tiny water drops floating in the air!). I've been told the view from the top is amazing, but we couldn't see anything but clouds. All the same, the view was pretty spectacular. At the top of the peak it was totally sunny and we were above the clouds. It was just like being in an airplane. It was wonderful to be able to go on a hike, just the two of us. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Beach Friday 2014

This is the 6th year we've done our tradition of going to the beach on the day after Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful day! We went to 17-Mile Drive and played on the beach for a few hours. It was warm enough for Lucy to take her dress off and play in her undies. The boys got completely soaked by jumping in the waves.

 We went to Carmel afterwards and ate at our favorite bistro. It was a quicker trip than usual because we were short on time, but it was still very sweet!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chapter Book Readers

We have some new chapter book readers in our house. One day Ben decided to pick up a chapter book and read it from cover to cover. I was so proud of him! We went to the library later in the day and got a bunch more books for him to read.

Not to be outdone, Tommy picked up one of the chapter books I brought home from the library and read it in an hour. Now we had two chapter book readers! To celebrate, we went to Barnes & Noble to pick out new chapter books and then got frozen yogurt.

 Their heads have been stuck in books ever since. It's been wonderful to see!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Beach Therapy

On Sunday we woke up and decided to go to the beach. The previous week and weekend leading up to that point was very tense and stressful. Saturday in particular was a day where no one was very happy with each other. So instead of pushing through it and heading to church like we normally would, we packed up and went to the beach. 

The beach always brings us perspective and family bonding, and this day was no exception. We had a great day. We actually tried to go to Big Sur, a spot we've been wanting to hit for a while. But we were partway there when we realized that Google Maps tricked us into thinking it was much closer than it actually is. So we did an about face and headed to Monterey instead. We spent a lot of time at the beach, strolled around downtown, Monterey and ate crepes. 

It was everything we needed. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tommy's 8th Birthday

Here's what you did on your 8th birthday! 

You had birthday waffles for breakfast. We've always done birthday cereal, but since you can't have milk, preservatives, or artificial colors or flavors, that pretty much nixes the whole birthday cereal thing. Instead you requested pumpkin spice waffles with sunflower seed "sprinkles". 

Your presents from Dad and I were few, but very thoughtfully selected, and you loved everything. You spent the morning putting together your Lego Technic hotrod with Dad. 

We went to your favorite restaurant for lunch, Sweet Tomatoes, then to go-kart racing with your cousins.

In the evening we had your family party with cake and presents. It was a whirlwind, really fun day! You did the things you love most with the people most. It was a great day. :)