Saturday, December 16, 2017

Celebration Sunday!

On Sunday November 29th we had Celebration Sunday at our church. It was in honor of the 9 weeks worth of classes we had for Financial Peace University. Michael and I had led a table every Sunday night since the middle of September. It was fun relearning the principles we had learned back in 2013. We had been following them mostly, but there were a few adjustments that we needed to make. It was a big commitment and I was happy we did it, but also happy we were finished. We definitely had something to celebrate! 

Ron the one spearheading this whole class, ordered these fun cakes from Costco. They were made to look like credit cards. He stabbed a pair of scissors into the cakes for fun. I can't remember how many credit cards were cut up during our class, but there were quite a few. I love the names that he had them put on the card cakes...Mr. Slave NoMore. 

And...Mr. I.B. Free!!! 

The sweetest thing happened to me at church that morning. I walk up to sit in the row I always sit in and there was this lovely blanket all folded nicely, wrapped in ribbon and it had my name on it. I was so overjoyed and super surprised!! See there is a lady named Gail at our church that make these wonderful blankets and she made one for me. I had mentioned to her husband in passing how I was sad that last year at our Women's Christmas Dinner they told the hostesses not to get gifts for the ladies sitting at their tables. Gail would always host a table and she always made a blanket for each of the ladies at her table. Well I was sitting at her table that year and because they said no to gifts I didn't get one of her famous blankets. I was so sad! Well she was just so sweet and made a blanket especially for me even though she wasn't even able to make it to the Christmas Dinner this year. I was seriously so surprised I almost started crying. I love my new blanket and I sit with it every night!!! 

While I was sitting there snuggled in my blanket Owen decided that he should try to teach Charlie how to sit. It was so cute and hilarious! 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Charlie Cat's Christmas!

I honestly think Charlie thinks we put the tree up just so he can sit under it! 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Decorating For Christmas!

We usually put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving. In years past we've decorated our church on that Saturday so then we usually put our tree up on Sunday. This year we decorated our church the Sunday before Thanksgiving after church was over. Because of that we decided to decorate our tree on Saturday this year. 

We have honestly gotten decorating down to a science. It's awesome! Michael deals with putting the tree up. 

The kids help with the ornaments. That is after they've already helped me take down all the Fall decorations. I didn't do anything we the tree this year. Michael and the kids handled the whole thing. 

I did put up the other decorations around the house with the kids help as well. I asked the kids to stand next to their favorite decoration. Ella was so happy that she got to set up the Nativity set this year. That awesome JOY sign lights up. I got that after Christmas last year at Safeway on clearance for $7.50! It was originally $29.99! 

Zeke was super proud of the tree. We let the kids put up all the kiddie ornaments this year. We rotate back and forth between having a fancy tree or a kid tree.

Owen loved the tree as well and thought that Charlie needed to be in the picture with him.

Jackson liked the JOY sign the best. 

After decorating the older three wanted to play Phase 10. 

Ella had never played Phase 10 before, but she did good. Of course she needed help, but we did have fun! 

Phase 10 is a little too hard for Zeke so Michael played Life with Zeke instead. 

I think we only made it halfway to Phase 10 so it was really Phase 5!!!

It's funny because it's been over 3 weeks since we decorated and I just now noticed that we never actually hung up the stockings!!! We put the stocking holders up on the mantle, but forgot the stockings. I think they are in a box that Michael didn't actually bring down because we are also missing the other Nativity set that I like to put up as well! 

Here's a new decoration that we have up on the mantle this year. Ellen gave me this right before she moved to Arizona. It's the last year that Santa Al was really able to play Santa. We had a fun special Christmas time with him at Ga-Ga & Pa's house. This is the first year with no Santa Al! We are missing him for sure, but we know he's having the best Christmas EVER!!! Also the kids Santa gifts this year are actually really from Santa. They are the last gifts that Ellen had from Al's stash of Santa gifts. That's going to make this years Santa gifts extra special! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

This Is What Happens When You Take Away Electronics!

The boys both got in trouble the day before Thanksgiving so they had their electronics privileges taken away. So that meant while Ga-Ga & I were out shopping on Black Friday they had to come up with some form of entertainment. 

Enter the game of war. 

It was so nice actually seeing the older boys play together. In fact right around Thanksgiving is when I decided that we were going to be changing the electronics timeframe. Now instead of the kids getting 2 hours they only get 30 minutes. I told them it was becoming too hard to get things done or spend time together as a family because I didn't want to interrupt their electronic time. Now the kids get electronics from 4:30-5pm which is perfect since that's the time I'm usually making dinner anyways. So far they haven't been too upset about it, but I'm sure that also happens to be in part because of the time of year it is. We usually watch a lot of family movies in the winter especially around Christmas so they definitely aren't being deprived of screen time. Heaven forbid! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Thanksgiving In Oregon!

This year we decided to head down to Oregon to be with Michael's side of the family for Thanksgiving. After spending time with them at the summer family reunion we really wanted to continue to foster those relationships. We left our house at 7:30am and headed to our first stop...the Country Cousin in Centralia. 

We met up with Papa Martin and Jon, Becky and their girls for breakfast. Ella Grace and Samantha just love their Papa! 

That's a table full of Martins!!! 

After breakfast we began the rest of our journey. Michael wasn't feeling the best so I drove the whole way down to Gervais. I ended up missing the exit and we had to drive another 12 miles to the next exit. Thanksgiving was held at a grange that was over 100 years old. The layout was the kids got the upstairs to run around and play while dinner was served downstairs. As you can imagine it was a bit loud with the kids running around above us. Plus the downstairs was basically a basement made of cinderblocks so it was loud with just us adults in there. There were some other funny things too...there was one toilet for the whole building. Thankfully that didn't seem to matter. Another thing about old buildings is that they aren't really equipped to handle the sort of power needs us modern day folks are used to so they almost started an electrical fire with plugging in all the roasters. Oops! Dinner was great super yummy, but the best part was...

visiting with family of course. We had so much fun with Robin and her two boys Bryson and Ryan. We hung out with them a lot at the summer family reunion and they are so much fun. We all love to play games so they are our gaming buddies. Robin brought along 5 Crowns which we had never played before and it was so much fun to learn. We actually bought it as part of our family gift this year. Michael said he overheard Ryan when they first walked in the room Ryan said, "Yes my favorite cousin Mike is here!" I love that!!! I can't wait until we visit them again this summer. Such good times ahead! 

We ended up being at the Grange from 12:30pm - 6pm and then we started the trek to my parents house. Michael drove the whole way there and we rolled in just before 10pm. It was a crazy long day, but I'm glad we did it!