Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Last Quarter...and Beyond

Okay, first of all, it's just sad to have to even say that I haven't covered the last quarter of the year.

Moving past that, I have to consider the fact that if I show nothing from these months, then the blogbook, which is our little family history, will be missing a lot of events. And, might I add, the reason I haven't blogged is because of those many events!

In September, we signed Isaac up for soccer with a nearby HOA league. I (Laurel) checked the box indicating that I'd be willing to help out, if needed, as an assistant. Two weeks before the first game was scheduled to take place, we were a little surprised that we hadn't heard anything from the coach. Then I got the phone call: I was the coach. It totally took me by surprise, but it was SUCH a fun experience! We all learned a lot and it really wasn't as bad as I expected (commitment-wise). Here are some of our favorite shots from the season:

Noah was a good sport about being a spectator, but he's looking forward to being old enough to play next season!

I think we celebrated it three different times. That's the way they do holidays here.

But we don't mind.

Ellie tried to go it alone. Enough waiting already!

But dressing up and alike is something I & N do all the time!

We all attended the Wildhorse Stampede in October. I did the 5K and the boys did the 1K. Hopefully Jared will finally enter and win it next year! It was a pretty chilly morning, so the odds were in our favor. My friend Aubrey & I tied for second place! We had a good time running together. We still do. We're signed up for a half marathon in March (my first)!

Ellie had a good time, too, even though she skinned her nose in the parking lot.

It was Isaac and Noah's first race.

I was so proud to see each of them cross the finish line!

Mom's Visit
It was so nice to have my Mom come and visit around Halloween and Isaac's birthday. We had a blast with her. It's funny, but the best memories were made just hanging out.

Of course the boys got new swords and shields. They bonded with their Grandma.

She even bonded with Ellie.

Ellie can only be bonded with for so long, though.

We all missed her immediately after she left.

Captain America
(a.k.a. Isaac the 6 year old). He woke up to presents from family members.

This kid loves Captain America.

He even went to school that morning with his turkey disguised as Captain America.

He came home with a crown and a cupcake ring. He got to do his homework with Grandma, who's waaaaay nicer than Mom.

And then there was the party...
I really need to set a limit on how many friends Isaac has! I think every party I plan sucks a good month out of my life expectancy, but this one was probably closer to a year. It was CRAZY. But so much fun. Loud, chaotic, exciting, dramatic fun. So much fun that there are hardly any pictures. And now Isaac has just about everything that has anything to do with Captain America.

Like I said, just one thing after another. This year we hosted for the first time ever. And, unless we have more people next time, perhaps it will be the last time. So much work! We were too busy to get any pictures, so here's some random Noah-entertainment instead.

Rain is something we were VERY grateful to finally get. It's just too bad it came after a freeze that killed the garden.

We're also grateful for Ellie's cute word/sign understanding. Communication is beautiful!!

A wish I've had for several years is to participate in a production of Handel's Messiah (I know, I dream BIG). Well, I finally got to fulfill that this past December, and it was amazing, if I do say so myself. And that's not because I was in it. I was seriously so thrilled to be there, for every practice and every performance. I hope to do it again this year. Again, no pictures of that. Here's what Isaac looked like after his last day before Christmas break, when they all went to school in pajamas and watched The Polar Express.

Isaac was very serious (and sensitive about it) that he had applied to be one of Santa's reindeer and had been chosen out of thousands. He kept trying to get me to contact Santa Claus about this, even on Christmas Eve. It was a little disturbing.

Once again, we got spoiled for Christmas! We enjoyed having Noelle come and visit again, this time for the week before Christmas (last year she arrived on Christmas night). She's such a good guest--she never minds our messes and she always does the dishes!

Christmas Eve involved a treasure hunt, some presents, a marshmallow gun fight, some stories, some caroling...

...and, of course, Ellie antics.

Isaac gave an awesome book to his dad. He made it at school.

Christmas morning was quite exciting, as you can imagine.

Ellie had opened presents before and gotten in trouble for it, so we had to coach her to open stuff at first.

It didn't take long.

After stockings, one present, crepes, and church, we came back and picked up where we left off.

Ellie had to put on her new dress right away, over her clothes.

Isaac helped his sister and brother (get their presents over with) so he could open his!

Jared got just about everything he asked for, and more!

Yes, someone's still obsessed with Captain America (even if the costume didn't have a prayer of being big enough).

We'll call them his "stretchy pants," or his "recreation clothes."

I have to admit, it was really fun to have surprises for everyone.

And even though Ellie loved her doll and clothes, when her turn was over she climbed up to the piano for a little background music.

The week went by super fast and we all felt healthier and craftier for having been with Noelle.

More Visits
That's right! Just when you thought it couldn't get any more exciting, we got to go to California for more celebrations with the Laneys! The day after Christmas we all went to the airport together (poor Noelle was perched on the luggage in the back, always uncomplaining). We said goodbye to Noelle and hello to all the nice people on the plane who entertained our children. All of Jared's siblings were together for the first time since (I believe) 2004. We ate way too many naughty things and had lots of good times. We even got two dates to the movies while we were there! Folks, this is a real treat. Ellie enjoyed being the center of attention, especially when she was movin' and groovin'.

Isaac and Noah enjoyed hanging out with all their long lost uncles and aunts.

And, of course, Grandma & Grandpa!

It didn't hurt that there were a TON of presents for them, either.

We had a great quick trip and now we're trying to adjust to normal life again!