Goodness, there's so much to catch up on. Sorry for doing one of my oh-so-frequent uber-posts, but I wanted to get everything out there before The Big Day. Here's what we've been up to!
Every year our ward hosts a Christmas Breakfast instead of dinner. I love the casualness of it and that it doesn't take up valuable evening time during the verrrry busy December month. The downside? cranky morning kids. Then again, who am I kidding? You have a 70% chance of my kids being cranky at anytime of the day. That average has been bumped way up due to Georgia's 90% grumpiness rate all on her lonesome. As I'm sure you'll be seeing from the pictures, Georgia lived up to her reputation and didn't disappoint ;)...
Note that this was while she was in line to see SANTA CLAUSE.
It takes some balls to be this naughty before talking to the big man
Oh, and the irony of the shirt...totally not lost on me.
Neither boy was particularly happy for this picture. Oak because I wanted him to sit on a creepy old man's lap and Ezra because he had already done the Santa thing (I missed the photo op) and didn't want to have to pose again.
We finally got a semi-smile out of her for this one.
What can I say?
Scarlett has a knack for awkward pictures.
Ahhh, much better.
Cute little thing talked his ear off...as she does with most people.
No Christmas season would be complete without a visit to the Crown Center! We look forward to it all year and, once again, it didn't disappoint :)
The kiddos playing in Santa's workshop before we head out into the cold:
Ahhh, I love that big ol' dimpled grin
Who can resist a photo op with giant Lego people?
obviously not my children:
Finally, we made it outside into the cold night air. As I mentioned last year, outside the Crown Center, they've set up a bunch of kid-size wooden vehicles and buildings...on top of concrete.
Here in the midwest we don't care about liability too much. I'm not complaining, though! A good knock every once in a while will just do them good ;) It was funny, this was the first year the kids were reeeeally into posing. Every time I turned around there was one of the kiddos yelling at me to come take a picture.
In case you're wondering, that's Spencer in the background all creeper-like.
Who can resist a good planking?
Ezra insisted on taking this picture, regardless of his younger brother well-voiced opinions and wishes.
I suppose that's what older brothers do :)
I love this picture of Oak. He was enthralled with the lit fountains and would stand watching them for as long as we'd let him before moving him out of the way of the spray.
This past Saturday evening (the 22nd), Georgia and I went on a date to see The Nutcracker put on by a local youth ballet company. We were pretty excited as neither of us had ever seen it before, not even in movie form. I was a little nervous about how well Miss Gee would sit for it, but she really did do smashingly. The elderly couple a few seats down from us just oohed and ahhhed over how well she did. Not only did she sit through the whole thing (other than the occasional ballerina imitations she couldn't resist doing during the particularly exciting parts...luckily we were on the back row of our section, so her arms weren't waving in anyone's face), but she actually watched it. I was so proud of her and I can't wait to make it a Girls Night Out tradition that Scarlett will join when she's older (knowing her general wiggliness and short attention span, we'll probably have to wait a few years on that one ;)
My general consensus as a first-time watcher of The Nutcracker? A little boring during the first half, especially the party scene, but if you can sit that out, it vastly improves during the second half. It was so entertaining and lovely the entire second half.
Georgia was so darn excited for the much-anticipated night to arrive. She could barely contain herself!
She's showing me her much-practiced Ballerina pose here
A quick self-portrait before we take our seats
She wanted me to take a picture of her "holding up the stage" during intermission
(and thank heavens for it! Intermission was a great chance to get all of her little girl wiggles out)
Oh, goodness, do I love that girl. She is, hands down, my hardest kid right now, but she can be so charming and bewitching when she's happy. I look forward all month long to our alternate monthly dates (dad gets the other month) and she always proves to be so much fun to hang out with. Really, honestly, the whole reason we started the whole monthly date thing was for this girl. She just blossoms with the one-on-one attention. She certainly shined for me on Saturday night :)
Well, I think that's everything for now, at least Christmas related. I'm sure I'll be posting our Christmas card and possibly a Christmas Eve jammie, though, tomorrow or the next day. Check back soon!
Here's some random musings to start your morning right (if a morning can be started after 10:00am, anyway ;).
I can't believe we're so darn close to Christmas! 8 days!!! eeeeeee! I feel like this has been the longest Christmas season ever due to that extra week between Thanksgiving and December. I'm so excited to finally be only a week away from Christmas eve. I feel like a little kid :)
So, our car is in the shop for a transmission fix. To most people, a car in the shop is inconvenient and obnoxiously expensive...to us it's like friggin' doomsday. As Spencer works on cars, we pretty much never take our car into the shop. I think maybe once (?) in our entire marraige, and that was when we had to replace our transmission for like $3000. ouch! Hopefully that's not the case this time around. I just don't think we'll keep the van if the transmission needs to be replaced again. I'm honestly not sure what we'll do.
As for exciting news from the Lifferth household...drumroll, please...
(no , I'm not pregnant)
We tore down a wall!!!! We had a Ronald Reagan moment (Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!) and down the wall came between our kitchen and dining room. Yep...like gone. The kids had an absolute blast doing it too. Even Oak got in the fun...with a hatchet...needless to say, Mom was not around while that particular moment was happening.
Anyway, now that the wall is down and the edges have been framed, the plan is to tear up the dining room carpet and put down hardwood to match the kitchen. Then we'll sand and refinish both the kitchen and dining room to a dark mahogany color (it's currently light oak (it takes all I have not to capitalize that word ;)). We're doing it now, despite it's inconvenience with the holiday goings-on because I'm planning on heading down to Oklahoma right after Christmas (we'll see what happens with the car situation). That way, Spencer can refinish and seal the floors while no one else is home.
Anyway, here's the proof!
Before #1 (dining room):
Before #2 (kitchen):
(all those spots are dust in the air)
(in case any of you are wondering who the random blue-shirted boy is, that's Liam, one of Ezra's besties from up the road.)
We break through!
about half-way there (poor Spence, he did most of the work from here forward)
This was at about midnight or so on Saturday night.
What's left of the wall has been framed and we just has cleanup left before bed (which, let me tell you, is no small job!)
...aaaand this is where we're at right now.
Next up, the flooring!
Also, as inquiring minds have requested, this is our new table set, a craigslist find. We love it, but we'll probably re-sell the table after a bit as Spence has his heart set on building a table. It'll be long and rectangle and will fit the space better (this one is smaller and rectangle or big and square with the leaf in). The chairs are perfect and exactly what I had my heart set on, so we'll keep them for sure.
Well, that's it for today, folks! I have loads more things to post about, so there'll probably be more posts in the near future :)
Ok...we definitely don't have any snow yet, so white frosting will have to do instead. 'Tis the season for gingerbread house-making. As typical, we always do graham crackers instead of traditional gingerbread. Spencer claims it's because it's structurally more sound...I just claim it's because I'm lazy. This year we shook things up by throwing upside-down waffle cones into the mix as Christmas trees (thanks for getting married and having reception leftovers, Kim!). I was originally intending to just do the trees, but then I over-bought candy (what can I say? any excuse is a good excuse to buy sugar in my book) and Ezra was aghast at the thought of a house-less gingerbread decorating activity...so we busted out the grahams. Anyway, here's the proof:
Ezra holding his fancy tree-topper in place. It was the only frivolity the boy allowed his decorating and it just wouldn't balance atop his tree. After about the 5th fall he finally gave up on it.
Spencer helping Scarlett get her house in order
The ever-smiley (and bad-hair-bedecked) Miss Scarlett
How Oak entertained himself.
He was like a little puppy dog that the kids occasionally threw treats in the general direction of.
The oddly eternally-homeless-looking Miss Georgia
Poor, poor girl. Her house completely collapsed not once, but twice, and even then it was a little shaky. She was a trooper through it all. It's not been confirmed, but I have my suspicions it's because she kept pushing the candy onto the house so hard. Georgia's not exactly well-known for her light touch.
The finished products:
(I love how they fit all their personalities to a tee)
Mr. Ezra's austere, yet remarkably realistic house
Bless his heart, the boy couldn't add frippery if his life depended on it. Note that the sum total of his house decor includes: 4 shrubs, two roof windows, some lines on the roof to indicate shingles, a door knob, and a door bell ("I have to put a doorbell on it, Mom. What would a house be without a doorbell!?")...after all, real houses aren't covered in skittles, now are they? Most of his time was spent on the people (red is girl, green is boy, I believe). He also made sure to include a well-thought-out smartie garden in the backyard.
Spencer's half-finished tee-pee circle
He had high hopes but the kids and their incessant pleading for help got in the way.
Miss Georgia's thrice-created home
We convinced her to leave the roof open as "skylights" to cut down on the weight of the roof and hopefully avoid further collapse. She lost a lot of the extra decor on the third-go-round of construction. That's ok, though, she focused her efforts on the tree, marshmallow snowman, and smartie people.
And finally, Miss Scarlett's house
Scarlett's house is just like her...full of lovely, yet occasionally overwhelming, frivolity and randomness.
This is the first year I've gotten basically all of my Christmas prep done early. I'm almost overwhelmed at the thought of all the Christmas festivities I have the opportunity to still do with the kids. We'll see which I run out of first: time or enthusiasm ;)
Oak Gideon turned a big 18 months on Friday and so begins his nursery
career. I can't even believe he's getting so old! He's an extremely
active, social guy, with smiles and giggles all around. He's almost
completely non-verbal (which is a big change from my other three early
and fluent talkers), but between pointing, stomping his little feet, and
squealing he still manages to make his wishes and opinions known. Dogs
are his favorite things ever and "ruff ruff" is the only animal noise
he imitates. He loves balls and will throw most anything, round or
otherwise. He is one of my happiest and destructive kids, hands down.
We love you, Oakie Boy! Happy 18 months!
First off-a BIG thank you to Jessica and Kristin for your blogger suggestions. Y'all enabled me to get my blog up and running again with nary a break in sight :)
We recently had our family pictures taken for our annual Christmas cards and to update the kiddo's wall portraits (it's shocking how old they grow in a single year!). Thank heavens I have Spencer around to keep me on top of things or else we'd be sending out Valentine's Day cards every year, like we did last February. Anyway, my uber-talented and fabulous friend, Heather, took time out of her busy schedule to take these for us mid-October and only got paid with lemon cookies (which everyone promptly ate at her son's baptism :P). I think they turned out fabulous...the pictures, that is...I don't know about the cookies. As for the family picture that made the Christmas card cut...you'll have to wait and see until you get yours in the mail ;) (comment and let me know if you want one!) I'm choosing to be lazy and won't be captioning that many of the pictures. It might just make the half a zillion picture pill a little easier to swallow. I figure if you don't know my children's names and personalities by now then there's not much hope for you regardless.
Miss Scarlett Caroline
This is my favorite of the group and the one I'll most likely be printing off for an 8x10 on my wall.
Mister Ezra Emil
This is the lucky shot that'll get cropped and framed for Ez's wall photo (not because the entire shot isn't gorgeous, but just for consistency with the other kids)
I love these two next pictures. they just are so Ezra to me :)
Miss Georgia Marie
I think this'll probably the one that gets blown up. I'm not positive, though. That girl just doesn't take a bad shot, I swear.
Mister Oak Gideon
Poor little bug was rudely awaken for the photo shoot, so it took him a while to warm up to the camera. He's normally so giggly that it's unusual to get such a solemn picture of him!
Oakie's naughty face
I see this many, maaany times a day.
I can't decide if I should use this picture or just crop the first one for his wall shot. We'll see. Those baby blues just kill me!
Best Frienemies Forever
Oh, Scarlett and her eternal awkward poses. How I love them.
According to my children, there is ALWAYS time for silliness...
She insisted, I promise.
We couldn't get Oak to take a straight shot after this. He just wouldn't keep that little tongue of his in.
Had Scarlett been looking at the camera, this is probably the shot I would've sent out. So, you get to see our sloppy seconds.
Thanks again for taking them, Heather, you're the best!!