December Twenty Eighteen

December was filled with:

Everything Christmas, obvious.
Family visits.
Drag queens.
Leavenworth.
Bone spurs, legit ones.
Musicals.
Everything else.

Talk about a busy month. I’m exhausted thinking about everything we did. And I never want to be that busy again. I feel like all of 2018 was overscheduled. My own doing, I own this. And nothing changed in December. Except the few days one or more kiddos were sick and we had to cancel plans… bummer but also a welcomed break.

I’m changing it up this month. Instead of going chronologically over the month, I’m categorizing. Like it matters… more of a note for me when I read this in three years and get confused as to why I have Christmas pictures first.

Everything Christmas, obvious.

Christmas was low-key. It was our first day in December with nothing on the schedule. And it was much needed. The entire month was crazy busy, and a day off sounded amazing. Even the night before, we were wrapping past our bedtime. Even though my plan was to wrap a little each night the week before. The best-laid plans. Thank goodness my mom was here to help or Brian and I would have been up past midnight.

I went a little crazy with Christmas this year. And I already regret this. I started buying kiddo gifts back in November, and I was finished by the first weekend in December. Except I wasn’t. I really was but I couldn’t stop finding just one more thing for one kiddo, which mean three more things for the other kiddos. And then one more thing again, turned into four more things. It snowballed. Out of control. And here I sit, early January, and half the things I bought are sitting unopened or already pushed aside. Damn it. I knew this would happen. And yet I did it anyway. I enjoy watching the kiddos get super excited over opening things. Next year, I’m back to a handful of gifts for each kiddo.

Christmas Eve, everything wrapped and ready. Yes, as pointed out to me by a few people, I pre-sort their gifts and each kiddo has specific wrapping paper. It makes my life easy. 1. No gift tags. 2. No chaos Christmas morning. 3. No questions asking me which gift is for whom. 4. The stay in one spot, for the most part. 5. I can’t help it. I’m an organizational freak.

 

The kiddos were up at the crack of dawn, anxious to open everything under the tree. Everything was opened by 6:45am and the excitement started to tone down. Brian made pancakes, as requested by Laine. After breakfast, the kiddos got to playing with new things and I took a much needed nap. With my new weighted blanket. Brian nailed it with that. He always makes fun of me for piling on so many blankets over me at night. Solution: one 20-pound blanket. I love the thing. And the nap was that much better.

Baby was easy: anything Paw Patrol. I scored with the Paw Patrol tower. I got it for $58. It’s normally $99. The tower, five vehicles, two dresses, coloring books, reading books… all Paw Patrol for her, with the exception of one toy. She was the easiest to buy for. Laine wanted a Hatchimal… we’re a few years behind what all the cool kids want. I’m okay with this. Ever since we stopped the kiddos watching YouTube, they have no idea what the it toys are. Her big gift was a Fitbit. She had been wanting one for a while. It’s been fun to track her sleep. Saige didn’t get any one big gift; she wanted several small things. She was the most manic on Christmas day, and I didn’t get any pictures of her playing with her loot because she was all over the place.

Blaise narrowed his Christmas list down to six LEGO sets. If we had bought them all, it would have been over $800. Which was my budget for all the kiddos (that I totally blew but whatever). I asked him which one he wanted the most… it was a LEGO Ninjago set. Which at the time I thought was odd, since he has never asked for a Ninjago set before. I quickly bought it back in November when it was on sale. LEGOS rarely go on sale. Fast-forward to December 23, he announced he wanted the Millennium Falcon.

I get it. I remember changing my wants, knowing I’d only get one big gift. One year, all I wanted was this pearl ring at Mervyn’s. Remember Mervyn’s!? My mom bought it months before Christmas. A few weeks before Christmas, I announced I wanted a new stereo. It was ALL I wanted. She asked about the ring, and I was adamant I didn’t want it anymore. Kids!

So the Millennium Falcon he got. And he had that sucker assembled by dinnertime.

 

The rest of the day was spent picking up Christmas while the kiddos played with their new loot. There was no evidence of gifts and I got busy putting everything new away. Despite my going crazy for Christmas, we don’t have too much stuff so it was easy to find homes for everything new. It helped that I did my monthly toy purge a few weeks prior, in anticipation of new things.

My annual tradition is to take the tree down on Christmas night. Don’t get me wrong, I love having a Christmas tree. It’s pretty and festive, and I like the smell (team real tree here). But I’ve concluded that I’m the opposite of a hoarder. I’m a compulsive purger… and the tree is no exception. Once the need is gone, it has to go. I can’t stand things out of place or unnecessary things, and the tree falls in this category the moment all the gifts are opened. Except this year I broke tradition and took it down the next morning. I was still super tired Christmas night, despite my weighted blanket nap.

It was a really nice Christmas.

Family visits.

BOB & TARA

December started with Bob and Tara visiting. They usually come up the first weekend in December to get our Christmas tree with us. And they did. We decided Friday afternoon would be the best time to get a tree since Laine had gymnastics Saturday morning and I don’t do crowds. Baby and Saige had outdoor school Friday morning, and Blaise and Laine had cooking class Friday late afternoon. Between, we went to the tree farm.

The kiddos picked out a Norwegian Spruce. It was pretty but not my style. I took one for the team—mostly because it was only $55 instead of the tress I like that cost $120—and Brian cut it down. Blaise, Laine, and Saige helped saw a little before we were loading it on the top of the Suburban. And by we, I mean Brian.

Tree hunters. Technically November 30 but whatever, it was also the first weekend of December. 

 

It had rained off-and-on Friday, so we set the tree out to dry before brining it inside Saturday to decorate. This is the first year I barely touched the tree. The kids did it all, and Brian did the tree topper. I’m sure I sound like a downer, but I can’t wait until the kiddos are past the care about the Christmas tree phase. I mean, I love that they do and I’m all for them caring as long as possible, but I want my white lights and organized red-only ornaments again. With young kiddos, it looks like a cluster with the colored lights and ornaments concentrated in specific areas. Things they say I’ll miss when the kids are grown and gone… doubtful.

We spent most of Saturday hanging at home, decorating the tree… aside from going to gymnastics and dance that morning. And I went for my long walk that afternoon. Mel and I usually need a break from the kiddo noise on the weekends.

It’s always nice having family in town. I like it most when we just hang at home and they get to play with the kiddos. It’s better than running around all over… they get to see the kiddos in their natural habitat. And the kiddos love having family around. The minute anyone leaves, they ask when they are coming again.

MY MOM

My mom came up. She’s not a traveller so this was new territory. It’s been a rough few years on my mom, with a misdiagnosis that took her from living fine on her own into a nursing home. And then another misdiagnosis. There were moments over the past three years that my sister and I thought she was going to die, and that it might even be better for her since she was living a miserable existence. I’m happy to say that she didn’t die and that she’s out and back on her own, and living life again. Let’s just say that there are some really, really, really terrible doctors out there. And that nursing homes over-medicate patients.

When she was on track to getting out on her own again, I suggested she come up here for Christmas. I never thought she would. I don’t mean that I offered hoping she’d say no; I’m glad she said yes. It was nice having her, and the kiddos really enjoyed her visit. It was good for everyone. Blaise and Laine spent a decent amount of time with my mom when they were young—before Saige and Baby—and didn’t remember her much. Saige and Baby had met her a few times.

Flying was out of the question so the train it was. I booked my mom a sleeper room on Amtrak. She left Sacramento at 11:59pm Friday night and was due to arrive in Seattle at 7:45pm Saturday night. The train was late, and she arrived about 9:30pm. It was a long trip but she seemed to enjoy the train. But she was more than happy to be off the sucker. Blaise, Laine, and I went into Seattle to pick her up at the King Street Station. Such a beautiful place. In all the years I’ve lived—and worked in Seattle—I had never been to the train station.

We left Seattle for home. Blaise and Laine gave her the house tour before we all called it a night. We spent most of the week hanging at home. This was the first week we didn’t have much on our schedule. Not that it was totally clear, but clear enough for more downtime than not. Which was much needed.

She was here for Christmas, watched Saige do an indoor ski lesson, I took her on a night out in Seattle, we went to lunch with one of my friends… and there was Target, a necessity. The dogs enjoyed having her also. I can tell my mom misses having dogs. The two she had before she went into the nursing home have since passed, and I’m hoping she gets one soon. Our dogs were super spoiled having her here, and they are spoiled to begin with.

The Saturday after Christmas, she was back on the train heading for Sacramento. And the kiddos were asking when she’s coming back. Hopefully soon!

Drag queens.

Sometime in the past two years, I’ve become slightly obsessed with drag queens. No idea why. Maybe it’s because they are amazing? And their makeup skills are beyond any that I will ever have. But it’s not just the makeup, clearly. It’s everything. For one, I love everything live. How people get up and perform, with such confidence and talent. And all the time they have devoted to their craft. Then there is knowing these people have faced adversity, and still have people out there against them. Just for being who they are. And they seem to brush it all off, maybe even use performing as an outlet. And bonus, being around like-minded people. Like when they say we should build bridges, not walls and the crowd goes wild. This. I can go on but the gist is everything liberal, progressive liberal. My kind of people.

DINA MARTINA

Seriously the best. Karann and I went to Dina Martina’s Christmas show last year after we decided the Seattle Men’s Chorus wasn’t up to par (except this year it was). We were sold. Dina was officially an annual tradition, even after the one time. And so we bought tickets for the Christmas show again. And it was just as good as last year. Maybe better? The venue was better. It was at Re-bar last year; at the ACT Theatre this year.

Man, Dina puts on a good show. It probably resonates with me because Dina will be talking about one thing, and then all of a sudden busts into a song. It’s all over the place. I think in the opener, Dina said something to the effect that shows are usually organized and have a sequential order… and that this show wasn’t one of those. I mean, it’s still a planned disorder but I love every minute of it. It’s hard to explain without seeing Dina.

This is what Dina looks like. And the set at the ACT Theatre.

 

Dina was so good, I went twice. After Karann and I went, I decided Brian needed to experience Dina. At least to understand my love of Dina. He seemed to enjoy it, although I don’t think he’s signed up for the annual tradition with Karann and me.

TO JESUS, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING – DELA & JINKX

Eh, not my favorite. I mean, I loved everything about DeLa and Jinkx. But the show, it wasn’t the best. At least not when you’re coming down from a Dina high. It was still entertaining, and I’m glad Karann and I went. But I’m not sure it made it on our annual tradition list. Bonus, my first time at the Neptune Theatre. Beautiful, in a rundown kind of way.

HOMO FOR THE HOLIDAYS: JINGLE ALL THE GAY!

Amazing. Not Dina amazing but just as amazing, in a different way. It was more of a variety show, with a set theme from start to finish. It was well-written and well-acted. And the cast was, well, amazing. Not to overuse that word. My friend Amber and I went, catching dinner before. It was in Capitol Hill. I love Capitol Hill. It doesn’t feel more progressive anywhere else.

Leavenworth.

We finally made it over to Leavenworth. I posted about it here. To sum it up: fun, better than expected, now an annual tradition.

Bone spurs, legit ones.

Pneumonia and now bone spurs. It’s like I’m 80.

The inside of my heels have been hurting for about 10 months. Maybe longer? I don’t remember. It’s a blur. I figured it was from overuse. Because I can’t sit still. Barely long enough to work on these posts in small amounts… I  can’t complete these in one sitting. I don’t have the patience to sit that long. I have to be doing something. And that something is often long walks with Mel. Maybe a hike. Sometimes a run. I’ve stopped running as much as I used to and would like to, thanks to this heel pain. And if I’m not out with Mel or out and about with the kiddos, I’m at home not sitting still… there’s always something to do around here.

Damn bone spurs. On both feet. On the inner part of my heels. Turns out it’s not necessarily the bone spurs that are causing discomfort. It’s the swelling surrounding the bone spurs that hurts, which has been caused from plantar fasciitis. Awesome. I’m officially old. I’ve been to a podiatrist. I’m glad I went… I have reasons and solutions.

I have to wear my sneakers all day. I have daily stretches. I need to see a physical therapist. I have to ice my heels twice a day for at least 10 minutes. I have two sets of custom orthotics: one for my sneakers and another for my Toms. What I can’t do: I can’t hike or run for 3-5 months. Lame. But I can walk. I just can’t Jane Fonda it as the doctor said. Which totally gave her age away. But that doesn’t mean much because I got the reference.

My next appointment is early February. I’m hoping I’m doing enough to get the okay to run and hike before 3-5 months. I’ll probably be diagnosed with dementia in a few months at the rate that I’m getting old people ailments.

Musicals.

Three musicals were on the calendar for December. I made it to two. Laine and I missed Freaky Friday. We were set to go on a Sunday afternoon but we were both exhausted from a busy weekend and decided to stay home instead. The other two—Matilda and In the Heights—were fabulous. And I may as well toss in the Seattle Men’s Chorus that I went to twice… although, it could also fall under Drag Queens, but it was more musical.

MATILDA

We’re huge fans of Roald Dahl. Fantastic Mr. Fox, superbAnd Matilda is no exception. Laine first watched the movie a few years ago, after we finished reading the book. She really enjoyed the movie so when I found out there would be a musical, I bought tickets the day they went on sale. I’m slightly obsessed with musicals and start over summer tracking down all the local theatres’ season lineups.

The Village Theatre puts on fantastic shows. Matilda was a really great production. Laine and I especially enjoyed the actor who played Ms. Trunchbull… he was amazing. Seriously, he stole the show. It was hard not to laugh even when he was just standing there, dressed as Ms. Trunchbull. The young gal who played Matilda was fun to watch; a young kiddo mastering her craft. I asked Laine if she had any interest in taking classes after seeing a kiddo close in age on stage… she said no. But she loves going to musicals. She really enjoyed the show. And bonus, the group of kiddos on stage did the floss.

I’m not a mom who dresses her kiddos up for these kind of outings. I never think about it and them I’m reminded the moment we arrive and see all these little girls in uncomfortable dresses with extremely large headwear. I’m sure some of the kiddos enjoy the dressing up; if Laine did, I’d be all for it. Brian has always—even to this day—complained about how his stepmom growing up made him wear slacks and a tie everywhere they went, even to Kings games. Maybe our kids will complain they didn’t have to dress up. But probably not. This is Seattle, where anything more than casual stands out like a sore thumb. 

 

IN THE HEIGHTS

Wow. Such a great musical. I didn’t know what to expect. If a musical isn’t based on a book or movie that I’ve read or seen, I don’t like to know anything going into the theatre. Which is a rare thing for me… when Brian watches movies at home, I tend to go on wikipedia to read all about the plot, even before the movie ends. I’m not a surprise person. I don’t like them, I don’t want any. I like to know everything. A form of control I suppose. But with musicals, I love being transported into a world I don’t know. A form of escape I suppose. And I escaped during In the Heights. The actors, the music, the set… it was a wonderful production. And bonus, Erin scored amazing seats in the second row. It was almost like we were on stage.

SEATTLE MEN’S CHORUS: JINGLE ALL THE WAY

One of my annual December traditions. I’ve been going to the Seattle Men’s Chorus holiday concert since we moved to Seattle in 2006; I only missed the year Blaise was born. After the last year, I wasn’t sure I’d go again. But I’m such a stickler for traditions and routines, I decided I had to go. And I’m glad I did. It was much better than last year. A new director took over a few years ago, and it went downhill in my opinion. Not downhill talent-wise or anything, but the new guy was all about him the first two years. And he took the fun out of the show. I think he figured it out and is much more settled in now because the fun was back… not to the same extent that it was, but much better than the last two years.

Brian and I were going to go together but it didn’t work out with our sitter. Instead, Fornia and I went and it was a nice evening out. Bonus, I tried the Impossible Burger for the first time and I’m slightly obsessed. So obsessed that I’m going out tonight with friends to have one again. Our seats were in the first tier, maybe the second box from the stage. I’m a huge tier seating fan. It was a really great show. And the audience sing along was waaaay better this year. Like with songs everyone knows. Last year, they had us sing Gloria in excelsis Deo. Because everyone knows the lyrics to that song.

I actually went twice this December. I took my mom when she was in town. Next year I’m taking Laine. My mom and I went to the last show and they pulled names for the raffle they put on every year. Laine always wins raffles. Always. Thinking about it now, I went to the opening and closing shows. Haha. First time I’ve ever pulled that off.

There was music. There was dancing There was drag. I’m anxious to see if it gets even better next year… but I’m not getting my hopes up it’ll be as good as before the new guy. One day it either will or my memory of how great it used to be will fade.

 

Not a musical… when I worked in Seattle, the building I worked in used to be here. It was the Galland Building, a measly five-story building built in 1906. Now this is there. I’m cool with change and it’s all good, but it’s so different in Seattle now.

New, big ass building on the left; Galland building on the right. Memories.  

 

Everything else.

Looks like I didn’t take many pictures to capture everything else. I’ve been trying to keep my phone away from me lately, making it tougher to grab a photo when the kiddos are in the moment. I think the highlight of December—aside from everything Christmas and family visits—was all the time spent with friends. We had several days where we’d play with one friend in the morning and another in the afternoon. There were also a few drop-off days of play… this is becoming a new favorite of mine. I love that the big kiddos are becoming independent enough to go over to friends’ houses on their own. But I also enjoy the times I stay with the kiddos and get to see them thoroughly enjoying themselves. Like out our friend’s home on 20 acres; the kiddos get to run about and enjoy the outdoors so well there.

December also included everything school and activities. There is something every day of the week. And most of it includes me driving someone somewhere, at least 20 minutes away. But it’s all good. The kiddos are thriving academically and in their activities. And their social life is off the charts. These kids have the life. I think they do more in a week than I ever did my entire childhood… and I have no complaints, it was a fine childhood. Our kiddos will probably complain they did too much—even though they enjoy it all—and keep their kiddos home more. It seems to happen like this, each generation does the opposite of the prior one.

BIRTHDAY PARTIES

Saigers attended two birthday parties for two of her little friends who each turned five. Saige has officially entered the birthday party scene.

Tickled Pink Party

The first party was at Tickled Pink, a very pink kiddo salon specializing in parties. It was super cute! They started by putting on robes before getting their toenails and fingernails painted. After, they all put on dress-up clothes and did a runway show. And then there was a dance party before sitting down to sing to the birthday gal. It was a really fun party. Saige ate it all up.

Little Gym Party

The second party—the next Sunday—was at Little Gym. The memories. We signed Blaise up at six months at the Little Gym since I was already pregnant with Laine and we wanted him around other kiddos. Looking back, it was pointless but hey, we were first time parents. The party, just as fun as the party the week before. Less girly and more physical; such a great time. The kiddos started with some set activities with the Little Gym instructors before some free time to romp around the gym. Once the kiddos were worn out, it was pizza and cake time. Saige is hysterical. I was sitting in the main waiting area while they all ate pizza and cake. The birthday girl’s mom came out and showed me a picture with Saige… they were taking a family picture and Saige jumped in the photo. Haha. Such a Saige move.

CHRISTMAS READING

Lisa was here in November when Brian and I went to see Neil deGrasse Tyson. She brought a Little People Christmas book with flaps. Apparently Baby loved this book and read it several times with Lisa. So of course I was on Amazon after Lisa told me this. The book came two days later and Baby read it most of December. It was a good buy.

IT WAS COLD

Super cold. Even the spiderwebs were frozen. Apparently I found it necessary to go outside and take a picture.

KIDDO ORNAMENTS

Saige and Baby made ornaments at their Friday class. I absolutely love these! I’m not one for homemade things so I really like them.

CUPCAKES

Saige was in a choice mood. Neither Brian or I really wanted to deal with her moodiness but I took one for the team and decided her moodiness was her way of saying she needed attention. The other kiddos were upstairs so I whispered and asked Saige if she wanted to make cupcakes. Instant mood change. That was a yes. And she had a special recipe she wanted to make… she wanted to make chocolate-chocolate cupcakes.

We used the standard Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix and Saige added chocolate chips in the batter. She wanted to frost them with chocolate and we didn’t have any, or any of the ingredients to make our own chocolate frosting. While the cupcakes cooled, we went up to the Carnation market and bought some chocolate frosting. Back home we frosted the cupcakes and then shared the secret with the other kiddos, who quickly came downstairs to enjoy a cupcake.

Saige was on cloud nine all afternoon. Much better than her earlier mood.

 

EEVEE!

Eevee’s family was off to Hawaii for a few days while she stayed with us. She is such a sweet pup! We love having her. Baby especially. She is the biggest dog fan around here, and we all are dog fans.

Even Moosie got in on the Eevee action.

 

COOKIE TIME

It’s cookie time… man, I love Troop Beverly Hills. And I love that Laine is old enough to enjoy it with me. I’m stuck in the ’80s. I know. Except we’re currently watching Gilmore Girls and that’s early 2000s. So maybe I’m just stuck in the pre-iPhone time. In other words, I’m getting old.

We had an afternoon set aside to make cookies with a friend. Except I majorly failed and forgot to buy sugar. I wanted to make sugar cookies. Which is weird because we are rarely ever out of sugar. Luckily, our friend had a gingerbread cookie mix that she brought over. We made the mix and rolled the dough. And the kiddos went to town with cookie cutters. Decorating was a hit also, with sprinkles galore.

Baby’s idea of decorating was eating sprinkles. No idea where she gets that. Because I would never do that. Nope.

 

JOLENE

Okay. I’m not sure what’s cuter, listening to Baby sing I’m begging of you please don’t take my man or Saige signing all the right junk in all the right places. Sure, both probably totally inappropriate for a three- and four-year-old but whatever. When the music hits you, you go with it, right?! Reminds me of the time we were driving home from Cannon Beach back when it was only Blaise and Laine, and we stopped at a park in Kelso. There was a young boy who was awfully chatty. He was maybe eight and singing Apple Bottom Jeans… and then proceeded to talk our ear off about how his dad was in jail and it would be a while until he was out. He seemed sad but happy to talk with someone. I digress. Jolene.

Baby LOVES Jolene. After Dina Martina—the first time—I went to Karann’s after, and there was a YouTube night going on. I love YouTube nights at Karann’s. One of the videos we watched was Jolene, the Miley Cyrus version. I had no idea she could actually sing. I figured she was another Beyonce or Brittany Spears or Katy Perry, manufactured talent. Admittedly, I’m not a singing agent. But I’ve listened to all of the above sing live and, well, even with autotune microphones, I question if there is any real, raw talent. Maybe I’m harsh. But Miley, she can actually sing. I was pleasantly surprised. Now, country music is so not my thing but I can hang with Jolene.

Saige and Baby wanted to watch the video over and over, and we did… enough times that I’m good for the year. There’s a split second in the video where they show Miley’s bare feet in the grass. This is what stood out to Baby. She calls it the footy video.

Saige dancing to Jolene. Baby is somewhere out of the picture singing.

 

And the video. 

 

And how I feel about country music. Bo nails it.

 

REDMOND TOWN CENTER

I wanted to hit RTC before all the regular school kids were on break. That whole crowd thing, I don’t do. So off to RTC we went on a weekday morning. It was cold. And my kiddos refuse to wear coats. We didn’t last long. We visited Santa first. We don’t do Santa, at least we never did for the big kiddos. They’ve always known. Saige, we don’t do Santa for her either but she does it for herself. And we haven’t told her otherwise. She seems to really buy into it. We’re letting her believe but we don’t mention him. It all comes from her.

Saige is in the awkward smile phase. I actually picked this picture because it captures the phase perfectly. There were other options but I had to go with this one. Baby looked bored in all the options.

 

After Santa, we met up with a friend and hit the carousel a few times before wandering around RTC. The kiddos were cold and ready to eat at Red Robin.

The plan was to eat at the Original Pancake House until I received an email that morning that said all kids eat for $1.99 at Red Robin until December 24. Sold. And it turned out I had a burger on my royalty card, so our total bill (before tip) was under $17. Score.

HOMEWORK

Blaise had a biography report to complete for his social studies class. He had to select any person to read about and complete a poster to present to his class. Thankfully I had gone crazy last year and bought several kiddo-level biography books. He nosed through the books and selected Isaac Newton. He read the book in one night; he’s become quite the avid reader. We had him read it again the next night just to confirm he retained everything. He did. He then completed the biography poster and prepared his oral report. I was impressed with Blaise. He’s a rush to finish kind of guy, and while at times he did, he ended up doing a nice poster and practiced his oral report enough times that I believe he did well. This is where we have no idea whose kid he is… neither Brian or I would ever have been okay getting up in front of class at Blaise’s age. Then again, this is the same kid who went on stage at Camp Orkila and told a joke when they asked if any audience members had one.

Saige and Baby had to get in on the homework action also. Saige takes it pretty seriously.

 

PEDICURES

The dreaded pedicure. I’ve been getting pedicures every 2-3 weeks since I was 14. It’s become a chore. And yet I can’t not get one. Damn habits. With everything kids—and exhaustion—it’s becoming increasingly harder to find the time. But I do, and I took Laine with me this time. She went with blue and the lady gave her some snowflakes for fun.

CHEF BABY

All the kiddos like to help with cooking now. Even Baby. She goes all out and gets the dress up chef hat. It’s pretty cute. She was helping Brian make a Mexican lunch… and by help, it took Brian longer than it would have on his own. But totally worth the having an adorable assistant.

SUGAR COOKIES, FINALLY

My mom had mentioned to me before coming that she wanted to bake with the kiddos. I was sure to buy sugar so we had all the ingredients for sugar cookies. They went to town making cookies… I think they were at it for well over an hour, not including frosting and decorating. It was nice for the kiddos to have this time with my mom. And I ran out of vanilla after the cookie making. If it isn’t the sugar, it’s the vanilla.

CHRISTMAS EVE

It was ugly sweater cookie decorating and cheese lasagna for Christmas Eve. We went over to our old ‘hood and spent the afternoon with our amazing old neighbors. Every time I go there, I get nostalgic for the years we lived next door. Such good times.

The kiddos spent their time hanging out together… going wild between the excitment of seeing one another and the fact that Christmas was the next day. There was wild inside time, there was outside time, there was Google Home broadcasting time… they eventually calmed down a bit and sat to decorate some ugly sweater cookies from Trader Joe’s before we ate an early dinner.

Our tradition on Christmas Eve is to have lasagna… so we took over a cheese one and popped it in the oven. Back when Nan was alive and we spent Christmas Eve at her house, the tradition was burnt lasagna. Nan was so not a cook. I guess I take after her. Thankfully, there was no burnt lasagna this time. It was a fun afternoon.

SKIER SAIGE

Saigers had an indoor skiing lesson while my mom was here. It was fun for Saige to show my mom, and fun for my mom to get to watch her. After the lesson, we went to Bellevue and met Karann for lunch at Red Robin.

PAINTERS

A down day was much needed. The Friday before my mom left, we had a home day. I had all these plans to take my mom out and about, and we ended up enjoying the time mostly at home. The girls decided to paint for a while. Blaise was likely doing LEGOs.

HOW I FELT (STILL DO)

After my mom left and after everything December, I walked downstairs one afternoon and found these two dead asleep on the couch. They had been up and awake the last time I was downstairs. I want to be them, even now.

Later, 2018. It was a nice month to the end of another year.

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