Sunday, December 29, 2013

December in Review

 This month has flown by. Now that Christmas is done I have a few minutes to breath and write about what has been going on in our life.
At the beginning of the month Jeff and Ashley got to attend the daddy/daughter dance at her school.
 Jeff took her to a dinner of her choice and then brought her to the dance.
Here he is getting her corsage on...

Ready for some fun.

At the beginning of the night the gym looked like this. Mostly the girls were hanging out with their friends.

Ashley found her friend Brianna.

Not too long into the dance it was packed!

Ashley had fun with Jeff and I was relieved when the dance was complete and everyone seemed like they had a good time!
That night was our ward Christmas party and it was a Grinchmas theme.
Since it was the day after the Father/Daughter dance the only energy I had was to do our food assignment. Ashley was the only one who somewhat dressed up.

 It was very fun to see everyone else that dressed up though.

Kate and Ashley

These were the winners of the costume contest.

The next weekend we got the family together for family photos. It was too late to include them in Christmas cards this year but my friend was taking Taylor's senior pictures before she moves to Utah next month so I figured it would be a good time to do family pictures as well.
I can't believe Taylor is graduating in a few months!
The next weekend we had piano recitals.
 The boys have decided to stop taking lessons (we dragged it on as long as we could) so this was going to be there last time performing.
Taylor did a duet with Ashley (he said he didn't mind continuing to do duets with her)
Since the song wasn't that hard he kept procrastinating learning it and practicing it with Ashley. They finally got it together and did just fine but he was literally was in the back trying to memorize the music as the other children were performing.
Jeff sat on the floor and took videos of the kids performing, and offered to video for other people as well. He ended up sitting there on the floor the whole time.

Waiting to perform...


Every time I get nervous for them and every time they do great!

We love Connie Byers as their piano teacher.

Ha ha, Taylor was texting Kelzey the day before the recital and I joked that he should tell her to come and hear him do Ashley's duet since he comes to watch her performances. So she came!

Thought we'd snap a family picture while we were there.

Monday before Christmas we went to the Mission Inn with the Cowden family. After driving all around trying to find parking and then meeting up in the crowds we didn't end up staying too long. But...we got the fresh mini-donuts, hot chocolate and we walked around the Mission Inn (thought we didn't go inside because of the lines)


Before we got back to the cars we saw the Thompson Family who were coming for the first time.  and talked to them for a bit!


 This month has also been busy with school projects, science projects, doctor and orthodontist appointments, basically real life thrown in with a lot of extras!
One night Jacob informed me that he needed help with a poster that was due the next day (it was already late at night after getting back from some Christmas event) so I helped him with some the placement of the writing and he did the rest. He was up until late and up early before seminary but he finished it and did a great job.

This month had a few frustrations...
Here is the new shoes that Jeff accidently bleached when he was trying to bleach some dress shirts. (they were next to the washing machine as Jeff was pouring the bleach)
The day after Christmas we were supposed to go with another family to Sea World. I was looking forward to using our passes one more time and made all the arrangements. Jeff even decided to take the day off. We had the car packed and the other family had to back out and they couldn't go. Since they weren't going none of the kids wanted to go. So we unpacked the car and they all went back to their media form of choice. 
The first time we went there we only stayed 3 hours and I thought we'd be back some time this year. Well that was the most expensive 3 hours ever. I think I was the one most disappointed.
We had some laughs too
At one of those doctor's appointments we found out some possible answers for all of Taylor's running injuries and recent pain he's had in his feet. We were finally referred to a podiatrist.
He has high arches and the make up of his feet could've been causing the strain on his hips which causes the stress fractures. We are going to try some orthotic inserts. It was nice get some possible answers.
Taylor was texting his girlfriend in the doctor's office and had her believing that he was going to have to have a foot transplant, be in a wheelchair and have an attendant push him around school. She was very worried for awhile and was doing research on google. He couldn't resist and the story kept getting bigger until she finally told her the truth. He is his father's son! 
We celebrated Steve's birthday this month with a birthday lunch.
 Caden and Jeff bonded and I learned how much he is into superheroes right now. (I got the idea to make him a superhero cape or two for Christmas)

The last day of school before Christmas I got to deliver Holiday Grams (only one of 3 things that I was helping with at the school in December) and go to Ashley's Christmas party. They were playing minute-to-win-it Christmas games. She  is lucky to have a teacher who was way into Christmas and made the week fun for them.


We had a couple of families come and carol for us this month! This was the Holley Williamson and Shaw family that came. It was so sweet and made our night!


 The Sunday before Christmas I thought the kids and I could make a gingerbread house (it was a kit). The only one that was excited was Ashley...she lasted about 15 minutes and just like the Christmas decorating I ended up doing it on my own

We had lots of treats dropped off at our house this year!! We felt very loved and I had a lot to share on Christmas day when everyone came over. We have some talented friends.

Christmas Eve is our tradition to have a spiritual lesson and sing some carols and the kids get to open one present. The present is always a new pair of pajamas so it really isn't a surprise.

I got the bug to make their pajama pants this year which sounded like a good idea on Thanksgiving week...and then when it was a few days before Christmas and it wasn't done yet I thought it didn't sound like such a good plan! Anyway they all got done!

That night Jeff went to bed early feeling achy and feverish, Ashley was feverish too. A chest cold with clogged ears has been running through our house with a few days of achy and tired. Jacob and Taylor both had it before Christmas and Jeff and Ashley have it now. So far my version has been mild and my fingers are crossed.
So I got to stay up alone on Christmas Eve until the wee hours wrapping and getting Christmas magic ready. The later it got the more annoying late night TV got. Ha ha.  From what I gathered that night every Lifetime Christmas movie is about a workaholic single female who comes home for Christmas to rekindle romance with a former boyfriend. It got old :) 

Taylor's big present was a radio for his car (that hasn't been working for awhile). He got a few odds and ends but I imagine he realizes that Christmas isn't as exciting when you're older :)
Ashley was very exited to get a TV for her room. After years of telling her no I gave in and we got her a TV/DVD combo that is smaller than our computer monitor. Its not hooked up to cable so she can just watch movies on it but with her being sick the last few days its been perfect for her. She was thrilled.

Jacob's big present was paintball stuff. He is looking forward to being able to go out with Jeff and Taylor and use it.

I think the favorite part of gifts for the kids was going to the dollar store and buying gifts for each other. After wasting money last year on silly gifts for each other I decided the dollar store is where we would go because at least they would only be wasting a dollar. The rule was they had to get a couple of things they thought they would really like and then they could get something silly. They had a lot of fun there and they actually found a few decent things too.
Taylor wrapped a teddy bear with the head sticking out and suckers all tight so Jacob would know what they were...

and I'm sure Jacob was very excited about his copy of "The Friday Night Knitting Club"

After our family Christmas morning it was time to get ready for the Beaulieu family to come over and have the big Christmas celebration.
The downside was trying to hurry and clean up all the evidence of our Christmas morning mess the upside was getting to enjoy everyone at our home.
We were happy to have Chase and Gage over this year (we haven't seen them in a couple of years) We got to meet Chase's girlfriend.
The downside of hosting was I didn't get a lot of pictures :(  I definitely missed a lot of people in my pictures but I will share the ones I have.

Kenny, Sharon and Julie

Mom, Reuben and Grandma Smeltzer

We got to hang out with Ian and get to know his new wife Erin better.

Jared and Vanessa
This was Vanessa's first Christmas being married too and she celebrated by bringing a ham and homemade tamales to Christmas dinner. I think we'll like having her in the family!

All the cousins

This is the only picture we have of (almost) everyone. I think we had 33 people at the house that day.

Oh I ended up making Caden 2 capes between Christmas morning and when people came over that afternoon (it was pushing it a little!) Hopefully he likes them ;)  One was a Superman one and one had a C (for Caden) on it.  It was fun making them.


Kenny and Sharon spoiled our family with a foosball table and the DVDs that the kids wanted.

We had a great Christmas and our favorite part was spending time with the ones we love.
We got an extra surprise when my niece Liesl got to stay in Riverside for a few days. We went to the movies with cousins, a trampoline park and the last day I took them Ice Skating.
(This is the only blurry picture I got of skating) Taylor and Kelzey have been wanting to go ice skating for a long time so we all went (except Ashley who hurt her leg last time she tried it)

We got a little after Christmas celebration on Friday with Steve and Tahna and the Long's when we went to a Christmas dinner and show in Fontana. Very talented performers and great food.

Now that Christmas is over we are getting back to real life. Here is Ashley's science experiment. She is seeing if the color of food effects the perception of taste. We just got back from "experimenting" on lots of kids over at a friends house who loved eating cookies before dinner.
I'm tired of growing things, or doing experiments that might or might not work when we have to have the project done when the break is over. So a taste test is perfect.
An our last family event for the season was Erin and Ian's Open House. They were married Thanksgiving weekend but none of our family was able to go up to Oregon for the wedding so we were glad to have them down here to celebrate with us. We are happy for them and wish them lots of happiness together!