So much has happened over the past month. The Oregon Ducks won the Civil War game and clinched their Rose Bowl berth (and Rob got me yellow roses to celebrate--unfortunately, that photo didn't quite make it into the collages shown on this post). We decorated for Christmas, took time off from our regular homeschool schedule and did many Christmas-related activities. David's copywork/handwriting for the month has been scripture foretelling the birth of Jesus and has been scripture about the birth of our Savior. We have also read many different books together over the past month--right now, the boys and I are reading through A.A. Milne's Winne-the-Pooh. The weather seems to have gotten cooler (enough so that the boys found that they wanted to wear their Mama-knit hats to play outside, but not so cold that they had to wear more than a sweatshirt--we're becoming southern Texans, that's for sure when we want to bundle up when the temperatures hit 60). ;)
We have many batches of gingerbread pancakes for breakfast. Aidan has been my little helper in the kitchen. He has started putting the batter onto the griddle and has even flipped a few pancakes himself. He was a huge help in the kitchen when I baked all of the pieces for our gingerbread houses too and had a blast cutting various shapes (mostly men, though) out of the cookie dough.
The Daddy went to his annual conference that was held in Phoenix this year. When the Daddy is away, the rest of us will play (or else, we'll come up with a bunch of activities to keep us otherwise occupied!). We baked cookies, made gingerbread houses, went to the museum, made crafts with friends, watched Christmas movies, found out that our Polar Express DVD is MIA, and went to the park. That week was definitely busy, but we did have a lot of fun!
We have enjoyed being able to purchase fresh citrus from a local grove (that is maybe 3-5 minutes from our house!). The tangelos and navel oranges have been my favorites so far this season, and the prices are SO cheap! We just picked up an 18lb. bag of navel oranges for under $7! When our friends came down from Raleigh to spend Christmas with us, we took them over there. The kids hadn't seen oranges growing on trees before and thought that they were really pretty. They all enjoyed watching the orange juice machine squeeze the oranges and spit out the rinds at the grove store too!
I did a LOT of Christmas crafting this year. Next year, I need to remember to start making gifts for others earlier in the year. This past year, I began at the end of September...I just finished making the last gifts a couple of days ago...oops! The felt bird ornament is one that I made for my friend Stephanie. I finished those the day before she and the kids arrived.--phew! That was cutting it close!
Rob, the boys and I went to a student matinee showing of The Nutcracker ballet. The boys did really well and seemed to enjoy it. David got irritated with me when I forgot the names of the songs toward the end though. I promised him that I'll re-learn them so that I can tell him next time! I picked up a new wooden nutcracker for each of the boys that we gave them after the ballet to commemorate their first time going. The new nutcrackers have joined forces with the others in my collection. Aidan often lines them up in battle formations, in height order or however else he deems necessary when he feels the need to play with them. :) My little snowman nutcracker has often been left out because it doesn't look like the rest (sometimes he hides it behind the tallest nutcracker in my collection--it's quite hilarious!).
The week of Christmas, when we took our kids and the Howard kids to the park, we found Aidan making mulch-angels. Tessa and the others joined in on the fun too. I guess that when you don't get snow to play in, kids will find other ways to have their favorite winter fun! We also went down to Hidalgo for the Festival of Lights and had fun riding on the trolley through the town seeing the many beautiful light displays. It definitely helped put us more in the Christmas spirit. Steph, the kids and I went to IMAS, the children's museum, to play for an afternoon. The kids all had fun creating artwork out of felt, playing in the sand and water in the science lab, they got to hold Fancy Pants the tortoise and played for ages in the discovery zone with the water cycle play area. We all had a great time!
Rob took the kids swimming in our pool the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Only a few of the kids were actually brave enough to get in and swim in the cooler water, but they did have fun (and all talked about how funny it was getting to swim outdoors on Christmas Eve!). That evening, we went to our church for the Christmas Eve service--the music was done mariachi style and it was so awesome. The boys got to take communion for the first time--it was really special for Rob and I. Aidan had accepted Jesus into his heart on the 20th, so that has really been the best news of the entire month! :)
This past month has been really busy, but definitely full of blessing.