Heather and I went to the DMV today so she could get her permit. She passed the test and is now officially allowed to drive a car. Well, after she completes her six hours of behind-the-wheel training. But she's on her way! Awesome job Heather!
Thanks to a moment I captured on my phone as well as one Aunt Beth captured with her phone and our selfie stick, we have a couple of pictures from Christmas day. I must have loaded the pictures from our good camera and pulled the card out before they processes properly. We have an empty folder in our iPhoto marked 12/25/15. I'm so sad! I guess the most important part is documenting who was with us. Grandpa Ron joined us as well as Aunt Beth and Uncle Kevin. Our big presents for the girls were iPhone upgrades for all of us. They were thrilled, especially Jenna who has been using her phone with the cracked and shatter screen.
We had a lovely Christmas and were blessed beyond belief. The gifts for our family and from our family always make me feel a little guilty because there is so much. I'm grateful for the blessing of having an abundant life. We had a lovely turkey dinner and had some fun playing games with our aunt and uncle who stayed for a few days. We even got to go see the new Star Wars movie with them.
We are truly grateful for the birth of our Savior, the most important event in the history of the world next to his Atonement and resurrection. We are so blessed to have a knowledge of His gospel.
Christmas Eve always feel so cozy. The house is clean, the presents wrapped...I love sitting down just before bed in the quiet house and starting at the tree. It feels like anything magical is possible for those few wee hours. This year I caught Santa filling the stockings! There was a fun app we used to catch him. There is an app for everything. Can't wait to welcome Christmas morning tomorrow!
Jenna has been experimenting with some press on nails. Today she got her nails ready for Christmas by painting some designs on top. She has gotten SO good at her designs! We are impressed!!!
Later on we brewed some hot cocoa, put it in cups and grabbed our friends to head over and see the Christmas lights in our favorite Fountain Valley neighborhood that goes all out. The girls wrote letters to Santa and put them in the mailbox, and we found our favorite tree. This is always so festive, and we were so glad to have our dear friends, Michelle and Sarah, join us!
Work at my dad's was put on hold after Michelle's last visit in October. We needed a break. After finding out that Michelle wasn't going to be able to return until next May at the earliest, I made a plan to try to get the rest of the stuff down the mountain. On December 5, Heather volunteered to go with me to be my assistant. We donned masks to protect us from the dust and nicotine smell. She was a trooper helping me put things in boxes and load the truck. Once again, I thought I could get everything in one load, but the truck filled up fast. When I realized I wasn't going to get it all in one trip (we were working on the back room that was filled to the brim with stuff), we called it a day and headed down the mountain. We had a yummy dinner at the farmhouse before heading to Grandpa's new place to unload. Kelly and Jenna helped unload.
On 12-19, I made a trip up myself. Heather had had enough, and it felt like my burden to bear, so I went alone. I was pretty confident I could finish up. I had told Dad that I wanted to get him moved before Christmas and before the rain and snow started. I stopped along the way to take pictures since it had snowed recently. It is really pretty in the mountains, and I can see why people like Idyllwild. I finished the back room and collected everything from the living room, kitchen and other rooms that I could. I left my dad to pack the bathrooms and whatever else he wanted to take explaining to him that he needed to make this a final trip. With another loaded truck packed to the brim, I headed down the mountain. There was a storm coming in so I hit some clouds on the way, but otherwise made it down just fine. Kelly, Heather and Jenna helped unload again.
My dad followed me a few days later with his car packed also. He informed me he left his television and cable box along with a few other things for his "next trip." I don't understand what he's thinking. He has a buyer, and they want to make a deal. The weather is going to be bad the next several weeks which makes travel unsafe. I guess it's a hard transition, and he isn't ready to say good-bye yet? I don't know. He doesn't communicate all his thoughts even when I ask questions and give him my thoughts on what I see that needs to be done. He's been alone and independent for a very long time, and I guess he isn't used to communicating. I guess he'll make another trip up when the weather clears.
We bought a new tree this year. Nothing wrong with our old one, but Kelly liked the idea of having one with the lights already on it. The girls were okay to skip the real tree experience too. The tree came in three pieces and was easy to assemble. Kelly was great to get it up right away with the girls helping (12•7). I didn't get the decorating done for another week, but when it was all done, it was very festive. I moved the nativity sets to the bookshelves and the Santa and Snowman displays to the mantel. It was a little crowded on the mantel, but I liked having the nativities displayed on the shelves were they can be seen from the entry way.
Heather hasn't wanted to get rid of her bunk beds. She told us she likes the height and ability to see her whole room at night. Recently I asked her again about switching. She is sixteen now and is 5'7-1/2" which seems so tall for the twin bed. She also wakes up a lot and has frequent headaches. That may be unrelated, but I asked her about getting a bigger bed so she could be more comfortable. She agreed. We made it happen this month. We stripped the beds, photographed them and listed them on our LDS Garage Sale FB page. They sold within a day. Off to Sam's to get the new bed. She is so happy with her new bed and all the roominess. Now we have to reconfigure her room when we have time. Who knows when that will be!
This was the second year that our LDS church hosted the Interfaith Nativity or Creche. Kelly helped with the sound equipment and the live nativity again, and I took some of our nativity sets over to fill in some empty spaces in the displays. Unfortunately, it was the same weekend as the OCMCO concert, so our OCMCO people were not able to be involved in the performance aspect of the event. We were able to attend on Saturday night after the dress rehearsal and concerts were over (Thursday/Friday). It was great to see the music slots filled by various groups from the community. Julie Carr did an amazing job with the nativity displays, and Suzie Price did an incredible job transforming the RS room into an artist gallery. It is such an impressive event, but lots of work. So glad we got to run over and see everything.
Being back with OCMCO was great this fall. I love the Christmas concerts. The memorizing and getting used to being gone every Thursday was hard to get used to. But the music and quality of the choir I sing with is amazing. Friends came for girls' night and brought Heather and Grace. It's so great to see friends and hear their impressions after a performance.
12•3 Jenna is doing a PE football unit at school and loves it. Kelly threw the ball with the girls this afternoon. Jenna has receiving skills, and Heather has throwing skills. Who knew? I actually loved our flag football unit when I was in 6th grade. Kelly would have joined the team, but his mom wouldn't let him. Too many injuries.
12•8 Went to Costco and grabbed a hot dog before going in. Look at the sunset dinner view we got from the Costco patio tables!
We took the Young Women to Roger's Gardens tonight to see the lights. The store was beautiful as well with lots of old books around the store. We went from there to the Newport Beach Temple to see the creche, but it was dark when we got there. We parked across the street at the church parking lot to enjoy hot cocoa, cookies and a spiritual message about the Savior's birth. We found out later that one of our Beehives, Camilla, was really excited about the experience and told her mom that she wanted to take their whole family back to see Roger's Gardens. It's nice to know that at least a few of the girls had a great experience.
11• 26 Thanksgiving dinner! I tried two pies (pumpkin and apple) which turned out pretty well. We had grandpa and Jim, a man from church, for our guests. Jim plays the banjo and treated us to a song before he headed home. Jim lives in the senior park behind us and was not invited to join his family for Thanksgiving this year. It was nice to have more at our table.
We got a jump on our Christmas card photos by snapping a photo on Thanksgiving. Turned out pretty cute (Thanks MacKenzie!)
11•29 Jenna also painted her nails a few days later to get ready for the coming month. Isn't she so talented?
As I packed up the Halloween things there wasn't enough room to keep everything. I decided that the girls' Kindergarten items probably needed to go since they were starting to disintegrate. Before tossing them, I took a photo so I could remember their cuteness. The spiders were from Kindergarten in Mrs. Crandall's class, and the pumpkins were from Ms. Dillon's class (2nd grade for Jenna, 3rd grade for Heather). I then piled the Thanksgiving decor on the fireplace which looked quite festive. I'm getting slower at decorating, but not sure why. I used to love it, but now the getting boxes out and putting them away seems daunting. I'll probably be purging more in the season to come so that there isn't quite so much stuff to deal with.
Jenna was a tiger today running after the ball on the field. She can still pretty much run anyone down and get to the ball first. It's fun to watch her. Today we played a team that included our friends, Ellie and Grace. Everyone played well, and we got to gather and say hi after the game. Darrell and Rachel came to cheer on the twins, so we got to see them as well. Rachel and Jenna both played soccer for the first time together back when they were in U9 with coach Paul.
Caleb Holbrook took Heather on her first date tonight. Caleb is a childhood friend, and he was so sweet to ask her out. He turned 16 in October and had mentioned that if Heather hadn't had a date by the time he turned 16, he would take her out. And that he did! Jenna helped Heather with her make up, and the two left for dinner and a movie. They went to Johnny Rockets for Dinner and saw MockingJay Part 1 at Bella Terra. Heather said they talked a lot and had fun. We're so glad that Heather's first date was someone she knew well and could have fun with.
I'm a wife and mother of two of the sweetest girls ever. In my former life, I was an elementary school teacher. I love learning and sharing experiences, and the chance to journal for posterity. I wish I knew as much about my ancestors as my posterity is going to know about me!