Sunday, July 30, 2017

Let's start at the very beginning: Ira's Birth Story Part 1

It's the Sabbath. "Easy like a Sunday morning," has been this day. Jeff just left for 9:00am church with all the kids. Gage tried to stay home with me and Ira but I told him all we would be doing was napping and resting and that was enough to get him to change his mind and want to go with his dad.
I anticipated laying on the couch with my baby and taking advantage of the next three hours of quiet rest but Ira is comfy in his little seat in the sun, where I put him to eat my breakfast, and as I laid and looked at him it occurred to me that I want to remember every, single, detail of his wonderful birth. For that reason I grabbed a bulk bag of walnuts and came to the computer to record my still very fresh thoughts.

I know this new baby has been waiting to come to our family and since his conception he has already transformed our lives and changed my perspective on life, love, purpose, priorities, and so much more.
Jeff knew he was supposed to come before I did. Jeff walks by faith in every aspect of his life and I sometimes still try and take life into my own hands but this last fall after praying and pondering for 7+ months, I knew that I was ready for another baby and I knew that it was absolutely right that it happen. So when it happened on first try I knew it. And it wasn't a surprise. It was the plan the whole time only Heavenly Father, Ira, and Jeff were patiently waiting for me to comply.

I wanted to make sure the farm was operating well and that financially we were in a good spot. I wanted to make sure I had my other kids all in healthy place emotionally, mentally, physically, socially, etc.... I wanted to progress on my Holistic Nutrition certification and help Jeff continue to grow our roof cleaning business. I wanted all of these things mastered until I started  narrowing in and focusing on what really makes me happy and what really brings me peace and that is the love that abides in my family. Then I realized that what I really wanted was to bring another choice spirit to this earth and love him/her with all that I possibly could.

We went to the Temple in November and at a Shopko in Canada we bought a pregnancy test so that I could prove to Jeff what I already knew and sure enough, positive. Now we had a growing baby and a secret and both of those things are really fun to share with the one you love.

And then winter came, really, really, hard and tried it's best to trample the hope and faith that I had built up in preparation for this baby. The farm froze. Our order or baby chicks came late and with that half of them were dead and another 1/3 didn't survive their first week. The pigs got butchered late and were half the size we anticipated. Our new twin calves in the barn were found dead one morning when Jeff went out to feed and when he came in to tell me I seriously thought he was joking because certainly one more fatality was going to put me all the way over the edge. The pipes froze, the laying hens got cold and stopped laying eggs, the feed bills started adding up along with the electricity bills to light the barn and with snow and frost covered roofs for days on end Jeff had no work. And so many cold nights and days we spent with him thawing water and chickens and wiping my excessive tears and calming my troubled heart. We couldn't possibly tell the kids yet about the sweet baby because mommy was a bit of a wreck and I didn't want them to associate a happy new baby with a sad and overwhelmed mommy. Although, in all reality thinking about it now, maybe that would have been a more honest approach.
Instead we played in the snow and did donuts on the 4-wheeler and drank cocoa and worked on strengthening what we had. Each other, and a growing one, and that was worth enduring for.

We made it through all of that, with a lot of patience and a lot of prayers. It was refining, now that I look back but most things in life are that way. I am learning. By February when I turned 35 and the temperatures started to rise I felt renewed optimism and excitement. My body was physically changing and I could feel the baby inside of me, proving to me that he was right where he was supposed to be. We told the kids the "secret" on my birthday by playing a game of hangman and when it was my turn they had to solve the puzzle that read, "I'm having a baby!" It was so fun to watch them uncover it and then to realize that it wasn't a joke and that our family was really growing. The kids spread the news to all they saw and the word was quickly out.

Adelle made me a countdown chart with all the days from when we told the news until his estimated due date, August 5. There were a lot of days on that chart and since then we have been checking them off as we go.

I made a pack with Heavenly Father in my earnest prayers during the early stages of my pregnancy and through those winter months that if He would bring the sun back, I would put my boots back on and endure whatever this pregnancy, baby, farm life had to offer me. And we both held up our end of that deal.

This pregnancy was an ultimate dream as far as how I felt. I ran and played basketball until almost full term when, more because of the heat than anything else, I resorted to swimming and gardening for exercise.  I felt good the whole entire time. We ordered more chicks and they thrived. Adelle and I took a vacation to California for her birthday. I kept myself busy collecting eggs and getting all the extra squatting that a pregnant gal can get in. We finished the school year strong, went on a fun camping trip as a family with our good friends, spent many a summer day with a picnic at the beach, lots of pool days at my parent's, got in a car accident that totaled my car but that we were all unharmed in, planted a garden and barely weeded it, and harvested cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. And in the end did lots and lots of hiking.

Everything about Ira's pregnancy was exactly how it was supposed to be and that mentally prepared me so well for his miraculous birth. I knew, in my heart and in my mind, that Ira was supposed to come to our family. I knew that I could do hard things, after a trying winter, and I knew that my body was capable of conceiving, growing, thriving, and naturally delivering a healthy baby. There were too many tender mercies during the last 8 months to deny the plan that I had a special part in carrying out.
The freezing farm

Mother's Day 2017 6 months

My baby resting on my other baby. 6 months

California beach with Adelle 7 months

Family camping trip and Jetty Island 7-8 months

Strawberry picking 2017  

 4th of July party at our place. 8 months

Picking cherries from the box lifted up by the tractor 
8 months

Getting hit on Hannegan and totaling the car. 8 months 

Hiking, and hiking and more hiking 8.5 months 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Life right now is a feast

You all know the saying, "feast or famine." Well right now I feel like our life is a total feast and it feels really good.

Jeff asked me tonight how my day was and I told him it was so good to see the sun and know that more sunny days are in the near future. I don't remember any winters lasting as long as this last one did, but then again there are a lot of things I don't remember so... perspective, maybe?

There are so many good things happening right now in life and around the farm. The little baby in my belly moves all the time. It's so fun to feel him doing his acrobats whenever I actually pay attention. I love it. It's like he's in there going, "I'm still here mom!" Whenever Jeff or the kids put their hands on my belly, the baby usually stops, just to get a reaction out of them all, and then starts up again a few seconds later. I think he may just be "that" little brother.

Gage is big and my natural sidekick. He is seriously my best friend lately and I have a hard time imagining him as not the baby. I think a part of me will always think he's the baby and that's okay. They each will always be my baby in one way or another.
Gage is super independent and easy. He spent the first couple days of the week down in Lake Steven's with my sister and came home just the same as he left. Happy, funny, ready to make someone either laugh really hard, or really ticked off. He's so much like Jeff, which is probably why he is so much fun to be with.
Gage kisses my tummy (the baby) numerous times a day. Just walking by he will kiss my tummy, always before bed, and multiple times in between. It's the sweetest. He also prays every day that Hercules won't run away, which seems to be working.
He loves meeting new friends at his siblings soccer practices and comes home with lots of things that he's learning from these older kids. Plenty of teaching opportunities going on.

Emmett is awesome, that's a constant. He is organized and happy. He wakes up first and gets dressed before I have time to remind him to shower. So usually he has to undress and do it again. Showering isn't his favorite but he is the dirtiest kid! Always comes home from school and soccer with dirty knees and hands. It's become a family joke because he will start to set the table with hands covered in dirt and we all laugh because his hands always look like that.
He is a natural leader at school, and a friend to everyone. He is the teachers pet and continues to advance in math, grade levels above his own grade. His piano teacher says he is to hard on himself and needs to relax and I tell her, "good luck," he has always been that way.
He is really getting good at soccer and him and Braxton are the best of friends at home always playing either soccer, football, or basketball in the backyard.
Yesterday when he came to the store with me he asked if he could pick out the cereal and I said yes and he picked out my favorite kind. Just the sweetest kid. I told him he could pick out one that he liked too.

Adelle is growing up too fast. She's so fun and mature and doesn't think I can tell when she puts on my eye shadow. But I can tell. And she knows it's not okay for school but it's okay when her friends come over to play. She is sweet and helpful and just happy and easy going. She has been working really hard at keeping her room clean and yesterday she woke up early to do her homework for the whole week because she had neglected it. It makes me happy when I wash her sheets and find her scriptures under her pillow. She is just a gem.
Adelle and her friend sang in the school talent show a couple weeks ago and advanced to the finalist night. She is such a talented singer, and performer, and it was fun to watch her personality shine through on stage.
She still bears her testimony almost every month in church and one week when I wasn't there a couple weeks ago she took notes of everyone who spoke so that I could know what I missed.
The boys at school love Adelle and she is not intimidated by them one bit.

Braxton is an amazing young man. He continues to impress me with his character and maturity. When the  boys his age are being disrespectful to people or adults, he leaves and finds something else to do. He is breaking records at school and at soccer practice with his running ability and wall sits. He loves to work hard towards his goals and achieve them. He always collects the eggs on Sunday's when his dad is gone at meetings so that I don't have to do it and yesterday he poured my bowl of cereal for me so that it was ready when I came to sit down.
Today he mowed the lawn down at The Diner in front of our house. His new summer job, and did a great job. Jeff said he got the lawn mower down to The Diner using the tractor, a pallett, and the forklift and was able to start the lawn mower himself. He's growing up quite nicely, but too fast!
Braxton is the best big brother. Emmett and Gage actually argue about who gets to sleep next to Braxton every night and it's turning into a bit of a problem but they both just love him so much and want to constantly be with him.

Jeff is busy, and the best. I say feast or famine because that's the way both businesses are and right now they are both kicking his booty! But he takes each day at a time and manages to get it all done without taking his frustrations out on me or the kids. He always has time to shoot hoops with the boys or wrestle with the dog, or help the kids with the dishes, or read to them Harry Potter, or fix the clogged toilet, etc. I am so thankful for him and his hopeful, optimism.

On Sunday the speaker, President Nelson, who was our Bishop for a long while in 1st ward, spoke about praying in the morning and only giving thanks. Then he challanged us all to do that and specifically to pray for something that we are having a hard time being thankful for, and giving a prayer of thanks for it. It's been miraculous in my life as I have prayed gratitude all week for all the blessings in my life that really are blessings. Chickens who are laying eggs that I get to collect. Kids that are healthy and active that I have the priveledge of driving around and watching fulfill their dreams, a home that is big enough for all of us and has lots of rooms to clean, etc. These are some of my blessings lately but there are many more.

Life is a feast.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"No whining if it's a boy, Mom."

Oh Boy!! Where do I start? I want to remember every single thing about this day so I will start at 5:00am.

The alarm went off at 5:00am, Jeff's alarm to be specific, but he had set it for me because when we went to bed last night my phone was dead. Too much Marco Polo for me I guess ;)

I got up and squished myself into my running clothes. Jeff got up too and while I was squishing, he was out the door with my car to fill it with Gas at the gas station which is conveniently across the street. He's good to me.

By 5:16 he was back, my car was running and full of gas, and I was out the door and headed to Ferndale for my 5:30 run with my girlfriend.

We ran. It was cold and awesome. I love running. Sharon asked me when I found out the sex of the baby and I told her later today and that we were all convinced it was a girl.

I got home and was sweaty and cold but I felt like I needed to stretch more so I laid down by the fireplace in my living room, "stretching" and woke up 20 minutes later to Braxton sitting by me, and the fire.

I got in the shower and then got out and came down to make breakfast. But Emmett was dressed and frowning face. I asked him what was wrong and he said he didn't want to miss his AR test. Accelerated Reader to clarify. And to further clarify, the test isn't even for 1st graders but he's a studious, overachiever and likes to take the tests anyways. So my heart broke. My boys. So sweet and tender and sensitive. I told him, and actually I called them all in to speak to them all, that I didn't want it to be a bummer day. I wanted it to be a special, exciting, day and if they would rather go to school to take a test then that would be totally okay by me. No hurt feelings. Momma wanted everyone to have a good day.

So, the next thing I know I am not making breakfast but I am, still in my bathrobe, getting out bowls and spoons and milk and cereal and we have 10 minutes to feed the boys and get their lunches made and their bums on the bus. Phew!

Adelle wants to stay home and come with us to the appointment, so I tell her she is my favorite and she knows I am just teasing, and Gage has been waiting to see the baby for weeks. This is when Gage pipes up and says to me very serious, "Mom, No whining if it's a boy!" And I laugh out loud and tell him I will be so happy if it's a boy or a girl and Adelle finishes my line by saying, "as long as it's a healthy baby."

Jeff comes in from grading the driveway, which is potholes galore, and the four of us play Pig Pile, the card game. And Jeff wins and Gage looses and Adelle and I were somewhere in the middle. Then Jeff gets on his hands and knees and plays doggie with the kids while I go upstairs and get dressed and blow dry my hair. I have a new shirt thanks to Amazon and it's super cute and grey, which is my new favorite color.

Adelle comes into my room fully decked out in pink. Pink pants, shirt, earings, ponytail holder, bow, and now she is asking me if she can paint her fingernails pink. I say yes and ask if she would rather I paint her nails. She says yes. Then she asks if she can paint mine pink and I tell her I am sticking with grey because it's neutral and she suggests a blue/pink pattern on my nails which I say no to. 

I put on makeup and she watches so I ask her if she wants a little eye shadow too and she does so I wipe some on each of her eyes and she say's she can't see it, which is because there is barely anything there, but I tell her the lighting is bad and she goes into the bathroom where the lighting is better. She's so cute and growing up so greatly. I am not one for little girls wearing makeup but it was a special day and a little eye shadow never hurt anyone.

We leave in time to get to the appointment a couple minutes early. Jeff asks me if I am nervous and I say yes. When we get inside I have paperwork to do so Adelle pulls out Go Fish cards from her purse and she and Gage play a game while I do paperwork and Jeff browses through a magazine. My phone is on silent but I see the light through my bag and people are texting me to see what time my appointment is and reminding me to not forget to tell them!! We get called right back.

Her name is Kay and she's not Mindi (one of my besties from Highschool who has always done my ultra-sounds with my baby's) but Mindi moved and no longer works in town so Kay is great and I tell her Mindi is my friend and she gives us special treatment.

She tells us how healthy baby is. How strong the heartbeat is at 160 and how perfect the heart shape and kidneys are. She asks us if we want to know the gender and we say yes and almost in the same minute she shows us it's a BOY! And I am shocked to the point of falling off the table. And I look at Jeff and he is shocked, and Gage is shocked, and Adelle is the most shocked and holding back as tight as she can to the tears that only a mom can see soaking up her eyes. And I reach for her hand and we hold hands. And now the tears from her eyes are coming out of mine and they are happy, and disappointed, and empathetic, but all in a really good way. And I tell her how excited I am and how fun it will be to have a little brother again and she is strong and good and happy. 

Gage exclaims that the baby's name should be Bird Eagle and I am the only one who understands and I tell everyone in the room that it sounds like a Native American Tribe name. Which is awesome.

Adelle and Gage are great and Kay prints them their own picture of their picking. Adelle chooses a profile picture and takes hers to school and shows it off. Gage chose a picture of the baby's foot, which was relieving to me as I really thought he was going to go for the one that pronounces boy. 

Kay tells us we must be really good parents because our kids were so well behaved and I think that's the best compliment you can tell people trying their best to raise their kids.

Gage starts asking about when we get ice cream, which we never said we were doing but sounds like a reasonable idea. We leave the appointment and head to Dairy Queen because it's close and Adelle was heading to school in the same direction. Vanilla Cone for Gage. Mint Oreo mini blizzard for Adelle and a chicken strip basket for them to share. Jeff gets a burger combo and Heath blizzard and I share with all of them because I like a variety. Jeff is explaining to Adelle about how lucky we are that we have her, our little girl, because he is such a manly specimen. I laugh out loud.  

We drop the boys off at home and I take Adelle to school. She's happy and excited about her news. I tell her that the more boys on the farm, the less farm chores for her and she likes it. At soccer later her friend comes up to me and says, "I didn't even know you were pregnant! Congratulations! And Adelle is happy that she no longer has to do chores!!" Interpretations are the best.

While I am at the school with Adelle I find Braxton in the cafeteria and tell him the news! He smiles and is happy and surprised and all the friends he is eating with get excited and start having side conversations about it.

I come home to eat a broccoli salad that was left over from last nights dinner and Jeff joins me at the table. Breath. It's been a busy couple of hours. We both text our parents and our siblings to share the news. My sister calls me when she gets the text because I think she thinks I am teasing about the gender. I Marco Polo with my sister in law and she tells me to tell Adelle that Sister in Laws are almost as good as sisters and it makes me really emotional. I have the best sister and sister in laws. I am also texting friends as fast as I can to make sure everyone is informed and they are texting back and being surprised and happy and one of them telling me she was so sorry and asking if I cried.

I get back in the car and go to the school again because it's my day/time to volunteer in Emmett's class. I share the news with him and he gets his cute little smirk on his face. Then he asks, "How is Adelle doing with that news?" which is so sweet and thoughtful and such a typical Emmett concern.

After school is snack and soccer. We don't have time to go home in between so I packed a snack and cleats etc. All the soccer mom's hear the news and get excited. After Adelle's practice is Emmett's, after Emmett's is Braxton's. My girlfriend from school/soccer brings me a cute little gift and I open it to find the littlest, softest, little boy onesie ever and I say, "it's blue!" and she responds, "I had to exchange the pink one today!" And we laugh because I had her convinced it was a girl too!!!

We are home and it's almost 7:00pm and I have no plans for dinner so I get some bacon out of the fridge and cut it into small pieces and scramble it with eggs and make toast. And we are all so hungry we inhale it and Braxton eats all the extra toast that the other kids can't finish. 

We have a FHE lesson on good pictures and bad pictures and we all look at the ultrasound pictures and are fascinated and awed by his feet and arms and cute little 10 inch body. We get out a ruler so everyone knows how big he is and it's so nice to be able to call the baby a he. 

After bedtime routines Gage reminds everyone to kiss the baby goodnight. Like he does every night. I Marco Polo with another sister-in-law and we are both pregnant and we talk about our babies and our lives and we both cry and relate so well to each other and it makes me thankful. 

Then Jeff and I are both so worn out. But I tell him I really want to blog about all of it while it's fresh in my mind and he comes with me to the office and sits with me while I type away. It's a happy day. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Emmett turns 7!!!

Oh Emmett. I know you have been counting the day's to turn 7 but I'm still not sure how it happened. My cute little snuggly boy all getting big and growing up. You're such a dream of a kid and I'm so happy you had a wonderful birthday.

Emmett requested Taco Salad for his family birthday dinner on Sunday and for dessert, chocolate decadence cake. I made a pumpkin pie too because that's what I do at the last minute, start freaking out about not having enough food. Thankfully though, between the big crockpot of beans, the shredded pork and the ground beef, we literally ate tacos/taco salad/burritos for the whole week following the party. It was fabulous! No meal planning needed for that week.

Emmett scored in the present department, getting all of his little hearts desires. Football cards, notebooks to store them, games, veggie chips (of which he binged on and gave himself a tummy ache) and money that we all know he will save.

We played around the world with math facts that night with our family, per Emmett's request.

Then on Monday, it was the annual Martin Luther King Day Birthday Party for Emmett. It's super handy that the kids never have school that day and we've established it as a great day for his birthday each year since we still then have our weekend and all of his friends young and old can come to the party. He invited 10 friends this year and with their siblings we had 23 kids. The forecast predicted snow so I booked the indoor field at the local soccer park so the kids could run around and the boys could play a football game. The usual. The day turned out to be gorgeous and sunny and crisp but regardless, it was easy to go and play, and then leave, and all the kids had a great time playing and running around. 

Afterwards the McManus boys came home with us to our place along with my mom and the Olsen kids and Jama and her kids. That was my personal favorite part of the whole day. My mom came with two orders of garlic fries. All the kids playing, moms talking, Jama cutting my hair in my living room... Those are the good ol' days. 

I'm so thankful for this boy, Emmett Douglas. He is such a light and a peacemaker in our family. He is happy and helpful and considerate of everyone's needs. He is wise and patient and though he is working on his humility, he is smart and sarcastic and a pleasure to parent. Happy Birthday Sweet Emmett.

And for the record, the parties didn't seize after the long weekend. We party long and hard for birthdays around here so on Wednesday he got apple crisp for breakfast, that he requested. Luckily for Gage and I after the kids went to school we finished off the rest of the pan of crisp. We are suckers for fruit crisps!! Then he brought Oreo's to school to celebrate in his class AND after school my mom picked up him and his siblings and she and my dad took them to Buffalo Wild Wings for a birthday dinner date and then shopping for his gift. Jeff and I quietly stayed home and ate burritos. fyi.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

This Christmas


There is something about Christmas that makes everything right in the world. It's tangible and contagious and this year, like others of the past, brought all of us so much joy and wonder.

In no particular order....
Braxton's Christmas jammies were hillarious. They were a last minute purchase at Target and they didn't have his size so I acted logically and bought my size. But he rocked them non the less and was a super great sport about them.

I had bought all the kids spirit wear through the school and then forgot about it in the closet so they got a present later Christmas day, once I remembered. And they loved their spirit wear.

The kids and I all went shopping one day down south at Hobby Lobby and I let Braxton, Adelle, and Emmett go next door to the dollar tree and I seriously thought they got lost coming back and I had them paged on the intercom of Hobby Lobby. It was nerve racking for a few short minutes.

All the kids bought/made gifts for each other and were spot on with their choices. Gage picked out the long gum, rolled around the spindle for Adelle. Her favorite. Emmett wanted to get a Seahawks jersey so bad for Braxton but I wouldn't let him spend that much money so I helped him choose a poof ball hat, Nike, and Braxton, no joke, hasn't taken it off since Christmas (except at school and during prayer). He loves that hat!! Braxton made his dad a new boot taker offer thing with  my dad and worked really hard on it. Adelle bought Emmett and Braxton soccer cards. etc. It was special. I love to see them giving willingly to each other.

We had a week-long cousin camp between our house and my mom and dad's there were lots of sleepovers. Brent and Jess and Isaac were in town and everyone wanted to hang out with them and then Lesha came to town with her kids and all the cousins got to play, continually. We played in the snow at our place and everyone worked together to build a gigantic snowman that was taller than Umpa. We played on the 4-wheeler in the snow and had snowball fights. We made and decorated ginger bread men to leave out for Santa. We painted little wooden ornaments that Jeff sawed for us and homemade soap with essential oils to give as gifts.

Jeff bought me my Christmas present and gave it to me early so all season I could enjoy my diffuser. I love it.

Jeff and I hosted Christmas Eve and we served homemade chili and cornbread along with fresh apple cider that we had pressed and froze this past fall. We had my parents, Brent, Jess and Isaac, and Kate. We also had the 1st Annual Christmas Eve Talent Show and that was a great addition to our other Christmas Eve traditions this year. Adelle and Kate did a gymnastics routine. Braxton showed us how to make a yarn hat ornament, Emmett played Jolly Old St. Nicholas on the Piano. Let's see.... Jeff and I sang a new rendition of "Baby it's Cold Outside" that had everyone laughing out loud and my parents followed that act with their acted out version of "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer." Brent and Jessica were the Grand Finale with their fancy lip and tongue sync version of "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas."

After the family all left we read in Luke, like we do every year and then we read The Night Before Christmas. The kids got out cookies and milk for Santa and hustled off to bed. Santa got busy and I lazily laid in front of the fire and offered moral support. Our Bishop, and neighbor, saved us at 11:00pm with a C battery that one of Gage's Santa gifts required.

Jeff woke up extra early to feed the chickens before coming in to welcome Christmas morning. All the kids were happy with their gifts. Emmett even remembered Hercules and gifted him with a new squeaky ball.

Santa left cereal boxes in all of our stockings so we each got to have our own little breakfast cereal.

We went to church, since Christmas was on a Sunday this year, and it was a beautiful, combined Sacrament meeting with the other wards in the building.  The kids sang beautifully and Isaac wanted to tackle Gage during all of Sacrament meeting.

The day was beautiful so the kids and I decided we wanted to run/walk to my parents for dinner instead of drive. Jeff picked us up along the way but we got pretty far. It was sunny and crisp and perfect for a stroll.

My dad had a fun game planned for everyone with cotton balls and vaseline. Emmett took it serious and beat everyone by getting the most cotton balls to stick to his face. Jeff won through Emmett.

Lesha performed her talent Christmas Day singing her own version of a Christmas tune but Peter didn't get to see it since Corbin was home sick.

Interestingly enough I don't remember much past 5:00pm on Christmas. Maybe I was in a prime-rib coma?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The beginning part of December

Oh December? Where did thee go? 

December was a whirlwind of snowy merriness. Ha! That was my perception on a good day. On a not so good day, December was frigid and left a whole lot of things undone. Either way, big things happened of which I want to make note.

At the beginning of the month Emmett received the Good Citizen Award for his class. It was given to him by his Teacher, Mr. VanDyken,  for being Trustworthy in the halls and on the playground. It was really sweet to go to lunch with him and Gage even got ready in Seahawks gear since it was a game day and the whole school was showing their spirit. Some of our good friends from church, also were given awards that day so we all got to celebrate together with a special lunch.

Emmett is wonderful and his teacher is like a grown-up Emmett. Super tender and mild and they are great buds.

Also at the beginning of the month I hosted our RS Christmas social for our ward. The Presidency brought yummy soups and it was great to just gather together, eat, sing carols and share in the Christmas spirit.
Adelle brought home this Christmas book from a teacher and it ended up being the greatest story of the season.

Jeff's mom requested Bacon Crispers, which apparently are only sold in Canada these days so Jeff and I made a detour one night during one of our Temple trips. After almost loosing hope when the first stop didn't carry them, we found them at the next store and pretty much cleared the shelf! What momma wants, momma gets ;)

Emmett was a sweet shepherd at the ward's Christmas party. Adelle was an angel and Braxton and Gage were also shepherds. All the kids sang, along with the youth and other members.

When we got home that night, Emmett lost his first tooth! He's been waiting on that for a while and was happy to have a tooth to put under his pillow.

Our 3rd flock of chicks came the first week in December. Unfortunately so did the snow and ice! That resulted in the overnight delivery being delayed and 1/2 of the boxes of chicks were lost in the mail. It was such a catastrophe. Freezing temps, wind chills, and new babies struggling for their lives after starving for a whole 24 hours. The second day we lost 40 of the "Snowflakes" as we named them, resulting in a flock less than half the size intended.

Lucky for me I have all these little people in my life who help me to see the bright side and made themselves merry skating on the frozen pasture. 

 Gage woke up early one morning, early in December, and when he saw the snow excitedly asked, "Does this mean it is Christmas?" It was really sweet. That day he was the first one out in it. Schools were cancelled for the kids two days of one week and delayed another day. It was fun to play in the snow, but also freezing with the windchill. The temperatures this December have been so low! Jeff is a kid when it comes to the snow and we had fun pulling the kids and some of their friends on sleds behind the 4-wheeler. Benefits of having property for sure! The kids and I made a snowman one day too and it was so funny because Hercules, our dog, kept jumping up and grabbing the arms of the snowman and running around with them. He loves sticks! And sidenote, Hercules loved the snow as well!!

The kids had their own unique lists for Santa this year. Braxton asked for a football helmet, a running/tracker watch, football pants, and football and soccer cards. Adelle asked for a beanie-boo stuffed owl, and coloring set. Emmett asked for tennis balls to juggle, football cards, and a binder to keep his football cards in. Gage asked for a Seahawks jersey, and a beanie-boo stuffed wolf.