Monday, January 19, 2015

Grandma's Birthday

Shauna's had one of those 'milestone'/decade birthdays in January.  But since all of the family was going to be here at Christmastime, we decided to surprise her a little early.

Preparing for the party alone was fun, so I think all of us were filled with anticipation and excitement when it was finally time for the big surprise.   After a fantastic dinner we gathered around to really celebrate Shauna.
The grandkids sang.
 We shared a long, sweet list of things we love about her.
By the way, we could have doubled what was on that list and still come up with more.
She's one special lady.

And then we each gave her a charm that was significant to our relationship with her to put on a new bracelet.
 She thanked us for not putting the actual number of candles on her cake, but blew out the ones on there without any trouble.
 I remember meeting Shauna when Nate and I were dating and feeling instantly at ease.  She just radiates peace and goodness and love.  I knew that being a part of this family, and being around her, would shape my adult years in positive, meaningful ways, and it has.  She has given her all to mothering, and it shows in these five kids. 
Shauna is also a top notch grandma.  The grandkids love spending time with her and doing fun things.  She is so quick to help, serve and love each one of them.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas Day

At 7:15 on Christmas morning, two very excited parents couldn't take the waiting any longer and we woke up Noah and Luke.  They certainly didn't mind being awoken to, "Merry Christmas Buddy!  Santa came!"  The stockings were opened up, and present unwrapping began. 
Luke was surprised and incredibly happy that Santa brought him his very own box of orange Tic Tacs.

Santa had to get a little creative for Noah because most of his Christmas list items ended up being birthday gifts. 
But Santa pulled through with a remote control car, some of the boys' most favorite books we've found at the library, and a big boy bike. 

Noah figured out how to use the controls in no time.  Luke still pretty much drives his backwards, but at least it goes somewhere, right?
Noah is amazing on his balance bike, so it seemed like a good idea to upgrade to the next size.  

In no time at all he was cruising down the sidewalk yelling, "Mom, it feels like I'm flying just like Dusty!"  
We're hoping to take off those training wheels in a couple of weeks since he's pretty much already got the balance thing down.  I'm crossing my fingers that he'll be a quick learner.

We were also super happy that Gram was here with Nana for Christmas.  She especially loved watching Luke and hearing all of the big boy things he has to say.
Nate gave me the best gift ever (in addition to a really great present): two weeks off of work to just be with the boys and me.  He was sure we'd be tired of him by the end of it, but boy was he wrong.  I joked with him that it felt like we were a 'real' family: working together, parenting our kids together, completing projects together, pretty much doing everything together.  It was the best two weeks EVER, and the most time he's ever taken off since we've had kids.  'Real' life, with a busy job and church responsibilities just doesn't allow for much always together time, and oh, I loved it. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gearing up for Christmas

Christmas came with a whole new level of excitement this year.  It started with decorating our Christmas tree a few days after Thanksgiving.  Noah was suddenly bursting with Christmas cheer and saying things like, "Mom, this is going to be the best Christmas ever!" and "I just LOVE putting ornaments on the tree with you Mom! Let's do some more!"  Luke followed Noah's lead and became excited about all of the good things the Christmas season brings.

We LOVE, thanks to our city police and fire departments, that Santa comes down our street.  He and Mrs. Claus bring candy canes for all of the kids and are escorted by police cars and fire trucks, all with their sirens wailing.  It really is a little bit magical.
The boys loved looking at Christmas lights again this year. 
Clearly they were too busy to pay any attention to their photographer.

Noah said his favorite was the Snoopy house, but he really did love running from house to house checking out all of the different decorations.
 Grandma invited us over again this year to make gingerbread houses. 
 Luke was equally interested in decorating his house and eating as much frosting as possible.

Just a few days before Christmas we gathered at Nana's house to frost sugar cookies, including the ones we'd be leaving out for Santa.
Once again, Luke was a champion frosting eater.
 Nate and I attended his annual Christmas party for work at the Sutter Club. 
It's always a lovely, fun party.  But, it's also so perfect to have a nice evening before that wicked busy season is upon us.  And, oh, it is so close to being upon us!

Now that Christmas has passed, I can report that there's some major post Christmas sadness going on from our boys.  I can't blame them.  This Christmas was one to be remembered: so many fun memories, the music (Luke sings a ridiculously cute 'Mary Did You Know'), events, and presents.  It's been fantastic, largely because of two little boys who have been over the top excited about everything.  They both literally cried as I packed up our decorations.  Noah proclaimed, "Mom, you're ruining Christmas!" and Luke screamed, "No, Mommy! Don't take dat twee down!"   That was two days ago, and they're still talking about how they want the decorations back up.