The first three weeks of December were a bit rough, as we battled one sick bug after another. First was the tummy bug, then came some sort of virus that brought high fevers, and then we finished it up with nasty colds that included severe coughing. In between all that, we managed to go on a Christmas tree hunt, make it through the children's musical at church, Rylee's ballet recital, their school Christmas program, their birthday party, Christmas, and this last weekend spent up in Washington with the in-laws to go sledding. What a CRAZY month! The only thing we had to miss was Watch Week for Rylee's ballet class (where the parents actually get to watch them practice during class, as normally they are closed classes) and a few karate classes for Ayden.
We thought we'd made it through our stomach virus by the time the day came to go find our Christmas tree. The kids had even gone back to school the day before, as they'd been symptom free for two days at that point. It's a good thing we went on our Christmas tree hunt in the morning, because by that afternoon, Ayden had a raging case of diarrhea.
|Ayden found our perfect tree! Haha!|
|Enjoying her hot chocolate|
|They couldn't wait to come home and "unfern" the tree!|
*Unfern = cut the strings off and unbundle it
|The bottom of the tree was very ornament heavy :)|
Thankfully, Ayden was feeling better the next day and made it to their Christmas musical. The kids had been practicing for well over a month for this play, and we were afraid he was going to have to miss it! Which also would have meant that one of us would have had to miss it too, and watching Rylee, while we stayed home with him! All worked out though, and the kids did great. Ayden was an excited but distracted donkey in the play, and Rylee was a very lively and animated little performer! Even Auntie J (Sis) and three of their cousins came to watch!
|Ayden waved to us several times throughout the performance. He was so excited to have us all there watching!|
|Classic! One picking his nose and the other with a finger in her ear! LOL|
Three days later was Rylee's Nutcracker performance. She had started coming down with a cold the day before, but it was mostly just a runny nose. No big deal. She was the cutest little ballerina mouse I've ever seen. She was also beyond excited that she got to wear makeup!
|She's such a feisty little thing!|
The next day, Rylee came down with a fever that spiked at 105° during the night and I ended up taking her to the doctor. No strep, lungs sounded good, ears looked good; probably just a virus that we needed to ride out. Of course Ayden then got the fever too, although his didn't quite reach as high. Thankfully the fevers ended up being short-lived and passed quickly, which was a good thing, because then they had their school Christmas program!
In the midst of all the activities, we had a family movie night and introduced them to their first big kid movie, Home Alone. Usually, if they don't see a cartoon character, we hear "this is a grown up movie! I want to watch a KID movie!" The overall consensus was that our first family movie night was a raging success! They loved it! I could have done without some of the language/name calling at times (for Ayden and Rylee's sake). Rylee hid her eyes a few times when she thought it was a little scary, but then was laughing a few seconds later.
|Mac & Cheese brought them new Christmas pj's for family movie night.|
|That Home Alone face!|
Next came Ayden and Rylee's 5th birthday, which deserves a post all by itself. For now, let's just say that I can't believe my babies are FIVE!!
|Ready for their party!|
After their birthday party, we had our first Christmas celebration with the in-laws since his brother and his family was in town. I didn't end up taking any pictures that night.
We spent Christmas Eve with my family, which included Sis and her family, my brother and his family, and my mom. We used to spend Christmas Eve with all the extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins... but since my Grandpa passed away and the family has expanded with all the cousins getting married, we sadly don't get together anymore. It was important to Sis and I that we started our own tradition of us siblings still getting together on Christmas Eve with all our kiddos, so that is what we've done the last three years, alternating who's house it is at.
|While dinner was being made, I kept all the kids entertained with a dance party in the living room.|
|All the cousins! P (3), N (7), S (8), Rylee (5), Ayden (5), E (13), U (8)|
We had Christmas morning at home, with Tony's parents joining us. Then we had a much needed day of down time for the kids to play with their new toys. We'd been on the go so much since their birthday party, that they hadn't even had a chance to play with any of their new toys, and it was killing them!
|(Im)patiently waiting to open all their gifts!|
The kids and I spent this last weekend up in Washington, with Tony's family. Tony stayed home because he needed to work. On Saturday, we headed up the mountain to find snow. This turned into a bigger adventure than we all planned on! Right after we arrived at our sledding destination, FIL and I got out of the pickup, intending to get Ayden and Rylee out of their car seats. I managed to put my hand on the lock button as I was getting out, and locked the kids in the truck, with the keys still in the ignition. Smacks head. Ayden freaked out as soon as he realized what had happened. Rylee stayed mostly calm. It's an extended cab truck, so it's big, and of course they couldn't reach the locks on their doors. We tried and tried and tried to get them to unbuckle their harness, but they got more and more frustrated because they couldn't quite get it. I'd been trying to teach them to unbuckle themselves recently, but they hadn't gotten it down yet! After about 40 minutes of them being locked in, everyone trying to keep Ayden calm while encouraging both of them to unbuckle their seats, having them take their shoes off to try opening the door with their feet, several other people (strangers) joining us in our quest of getting them out, BIL was finally able to pry a door open enough to use a long rod (shared from one of the strangers) to press the unlock button. At the same exact moment, Ayden was finally able to release the chest clip on his harness strap! Hallelujah, they were free. We had no cell service where we were at, so SIL had driven down the mountain (in another car) to call for help. Thankfully they didn't charge us when they showed up a half hour later, only to find out we didn't need their help anymore. We went on to enjoy a fun afternoon of sledding, despite there being barely any snow! The kids had fun and we made lots of memories that day.
We may have struggled through the holiday season this year, but we survived and made lots of memories along the way. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, but I never truly understood how magical it could be. It makes me weepy thinking about the fact that we almost didn't get to experience what it's like to share this season and make these memories with children of our own. There is nothing in the world that compares to seeing their joy in all the little ways we celebrate Christmas throughout the month. It. Is. Magical.
We ended the month, and the year, with even more excitement! Shortly after putting the kids to bed tonight, Ayden came out to show us that he had a VERY loose tooth. We had known it was loose, but had no idea it was THAT loose! After about 10 minutes of gushing over his loose, barely hanging on tooth, I ushered Ayden and Rylee back to bed (of course she had to come out and see what all the excitement was about). A few minutes later, Ayden was back out to proudly show off the tooth he managed to get pulled out. He asked if he could go show it to Rylee, and of course we let him because losing a tooth (his second) is a very big deal! They are both excited for the Tooth Fairy to come tonight.