Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Whole Hand!

Oh man.  I hardly took any pics yesterday for Norah's 5th birthday!  Oops.  But here are a few...

Playing the new game that Auntie Heidi sent!
5 balloons! 

Ready for breakfast out with Daddy!


McDs for lunch before school!

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Today we celebrated our 12/12 birthdays...first, with a park party for Norah and some of her preschool friends and then, dinner/dessert with family and some friends for Kris.

Kris' coconut cheesecake.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Pictures 2017

The goal:
6 smiling faces + cacti and mountains in the background.

Merry Christmas from us!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Phone Photo Dump 86

Homemade play dough!  Her Happy Place...

Norah and her friend J playing with their class "pet" at the park...

Local holiday parade!

Our church's float!

You can see Meredith's sheer excitement the midst of the blurriness!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Phone Photo Dump 85

 Every Wednesday the kiddos have early release, and many moms/kids meet at the community park to hang out. We just love to watch our kids, of varying ages, play together without parents directing them.  On this particular day, they had a huge game of "Sprout Tag" (similar to Freeze Tag, I think, but with several additional rules!) going. 

Shane's turkey disguised as HP.  I love this particular project!

Meredith's end of the season soccer party...

Meredith and her dear friend working on some perler bead projects!

Kris and I have been very blessed to have connected with an amazing small group.  This past Monday, we wrapped gifts we all purchased to bless one of the single parent families at our church.  Here are all of us ladies...the guys and kids were elsewhere!

PTO event planning meeting at a friend's house yesterday, and their new little pug snuggled on my lap most of the time.  He was so snuggly and cute!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

First Christmas Season in AZ

 Christmas certainly FEELS differently this year.  Today's high was in the mid-80s.  Thankfully those hot temps only last for a couple of hours during the middle of the day.  The mornings and the evenings are amazing, even chilly.

As we decorated the house today, I felt very reminiscent of our old house.  I very much miss our fireplace and mantle, as well as our huge picture window where we placed our tree.

I tried my best to make today seem normal, but I, myself, am having a hard time feeling Christmas-y, as part of me very much longs to be back in IL, freezing our bottoms off at the St. Charles electric parade that is happening tonight.  I've been told that with each new thing, I will feel that sense of homesickness again, so I imagine that these next few weeks will bring lots of sad moments along with the joyful ones. 

We loved our "old life".  We put our hearts and souls into so many people and places and things and moments there.  And there are truly bits of time that I ache to be back there.  Today is one of those days.

But I will keep on keeping on.  I AM grateful to be here.  We spent Thanksgiving with my entire family.  We spent yesterday in Tucson with the Phillipses.  We will see everyone again in a couple of weeks and then will be together again at Christmas.  We have made incredible friends here and our season is full.  And really, our hearts are full too.  Really, they are.

But there's still that ache.  That longing to hug and see and have coffee with and play with and laugh with and craft with friends who knew me so well. I do have so much to be thankful for.  Some days are just more difficult than others.
One of the biggest differences this year is that we caved and bought an artificial tree. It was somewhat of an impulsive purchase a couple weeks ago at Costco, but we had received lots of friendly advice about how difficult it is to keep a live tree from dying here in the desert, especially if we like to put it up right after Thanksgiving.  So, we made the switch, and the kids love it because there are several different lighting options (all controlled by a fun remote) so they can have their preferred colored lights on occasion, without me sacrificing my beloved white lights. ;)

One tradition that we continued is to let each kiddos pick out a new ornament.  They absolutely LOVE looking through their personal ornament boxes every year to remember the ones they've picked for previous seasons.

Meredith picked out a golden and sparkly peacock.

Caleb chose an Arizona Cardinals one.

Shane picked a football ornament.

Norah picked out Elsa.

A few other touches around the house...

We put up some outdoor lights as well, but I didn't get a picture yet.

We ended the day with the traditional hot chocolate in the snowman mugs and watching The Very First Noel.

Merry Christmas season to you.  May this be a season of more joys than sorrows for each of us.


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