Gotta eek this in before it morphs into MARCH. Time flies when you’re having fun. And also when you’re stressed out. Ha!

Let’s go back to December for a minute though. Because it was a good one.

We reluctantly pulled down all our Thanksgiving stuff:

And turned ourselves into Christmas …

…while watching Elf, of course, since that’s our tradition since forever…and really, the kids just watch the movie and I decorate and get a little huffy because no one is helping, ha!

I’m glad we got our ONE reading under the Christmas tree documented because that had to make up for all the other days we planned to do our reading and didn’t.

Ok, maybe there were a couple other readings, but it was slim pickings this December!

Lots of this:

Lucy got to go to “Candytopia” for a friend’s birthday party and I think it’s safe to say she had a GOOD time:

She also sang her little heart out in the MCO concert and it was such a great experience for her.

(I wrote all the details for that back HERE.)

Then it was on to Winter Formal. Girls choice. It was the last dance before Claire was sixteen and she went with a couple girlfriends…and happened to be around when all these other cute girls (many from her volleyball team) were at our house taking pictures with their dates…so had to get one with her too:

My parents came to town for Lucy’s MCO performance and got welcomed right into the fray with all the December hoopla.

They got to be here for Lucy’s piano recital…this teacher is the BEST and has taught Lucy so much beauty coming out of her fingertips!

Random FHE pic…

My parents were here to cheer on Elle and Lar from afar for their first-ever MARATHON over in Hawaii:

So, So Proud of those two!! WOOHOO!

…and to help us do things like make salads for baby blessing gatherings. Ha!

(my sweetie nephew, the one I got to take pictures of his birth, was blessed by his Dad and all of us got to be there.)

Another round of the “fab-four” cousins:

Meanwhile Dave’s sister had a great gathering for all the college nieces and nephews up in Utah:

Julie seriously rocks and I love her so much and her ability to gather and host all these kids up there. And I LOVE that all those cousins have each other up there! Do they even realize how incredibly lucky that is??? I wonder.

They made the traditional santa cookies Dave’s family has made for years and years and I just love that they got to do that!

More mom and dad hanging out…

Not sure why these pictures are in my December pictures, but they are. Mission pictures from Romania all those years ago:

Claire is gaining on me:

Every now and again I take Lu only half-way on the bike and let her walk.

But most of the time we tandem it all the way and gosh it is gorgeous.

Got this letter randomly in the mail from my Grace Jam and it swelled up my heart:

Volleyball, volleyball, volleyball. I think this pic was when my dad came with me to watch the end of practice when I was on the pick-up end:


But even more exciting than that (should have kept the all-caps excitement for this one…

Drum roll…


And we are all pretty dang excited about that! Talked about it HERE, as well as more details over HERE.

We had our last Activity Days meeting (making chocolate scriptures because who doesn’t want those??)

…and also a fun white-elephant gift exchange.

Christmas card stuffing and thank you note duties:

More happy from Hawaii:

My Dad stayed longer than my mom did because he had a tennis tournament here (which is pretty awesome, right?) We soaked that guy right up, and he soaked us up right back!

Way more about my parents visit and also a podcast we did together while they were here back HERE.

We had a Christmas party with some friends we love who made us delicious Japanese food:

And had some more volleyball…


She was the first of the college kids to come home and look at that shiny girl we got to bring along to volleyball with us! Woohoo!

She surprised her sisters coming home a little earlier than they knew, and it was the best surprise reunions ever which I posted all about back HERE.

She got to be here when our beloved hair lady came to fix us all up:

Accidental matching picture:

Elle stayed back in Hawaii for her friend’s graduation:

Random pic. of how much Bo loves the fire:

Stole these girls away for a mass service we loved (back HERE):

A little snippet into gift-giving prep (including jam making) and all that hoopla that a measly picture can’t really do justice to, but I want to remember that we were trying to squeeze all the Christmas craziness into every nook and cranny of time we had:

The reunion began, and boy howdy, we played hard having EVERYONE home. I talked all about this back HERE, with all the details, but here are some pics for a re-cap:

(Including Dave’s family party with our own family dance for the talent show…ha!)

Did my Chatbooks podcast dealio back HERE:

Lots of homework struggles and triumphs and defeats for a girl with diminishing eyesight:

A little pic of our remaining Thanksgiving grateful reminder morphing into Christmas:

(So grateful for that girl up there!)

A little Christmas lunch with these lovely ladies:

And a work dinner with some big-wigs:


Lu always puts up a fight as to whether to wear a sweatshirt or not…and socks too. And then she realizes as we ride along in the brisk winter air that maybe she should have listened to her mother after all! ๐Ÿ™‚ So this day I decided I better give her my socks if she was gonna make it through the day.

Ha! Ready to make a good fashion statement right there!

Claire’s volleyball Christmas breakfast banquet:

One morning before we headed off to hike Carson and Max were out shooting baskets in the back yard. I love that he finally gets a brother and we were mesmerized watching them shote basket after basket, swishing that ball.

SO great we are getting another boy. We are so lucky.

We had a little end-of-the-year wrap-up party with my little primary class in the middle of all the hoopla, and Max and Abby’s anniversary (hence the pictures up on the wall).

Love these kids and their treasure box full of scriptures they love that we collected through the year.

This didn’t make the family-togetherness collage up there above…but Dave took us shooting one day, and we gotta remember that!

Go Claire!

This didn’t make the family-togetherness collage either…Lucy was in charge of gingerbread house night:

Then it was on to Christmas Eve:

…and Bo love:

Whoops, out of order here, but going back to Christmas Eve morning where Dave and I went on a run through the rain:

…and Abby led us in an art creativity moment:

…and we bowled (check out all those strikes!…we started strong, and ended weak-sauce):

Watched the Nativity instead of acting it out this year:

Fav. ever part of Christmas, gift exchange on Christmas Eve (all this stuff is in the Christmas post back HERE). Love this pic Abby got:

We went to some advent services to celebrate the Christmas season, first with my girls, then with Max and Abby on Christmas Eve:

I talked all about my thoughts on that back HERE.

I talked all about Christmas Day back HERE, with a bazillion pictures but here’s the Christmas sunset from my in-laws, painting up the sky with beauty:

Then off to another sky, heavy-laden trying to hold in the rain, when we took everyone as their Christmas gift to a hotel to soak them up to top off the Christmas season:

I cherished every minute of that togetherness, right down to the Circle K hot chocolate stop en route back to the hotel:

That along with a bunch of other family fun after Christmas back HERE.

…including a slew of wedding dress tries:

The end of the Christmas decorations:

See Lu and I pre-taking-it-all-down in the reflection of that ornament down there?

Putting together Christmas legos with my girl:

Grace got to do a little skiing up in the mountains, lucky girl!

Dave and I got to go on a little date to the Fiesta Bowl, again, for his work, and I have to say it was a pretty exciting game!

The girls and I headed up to Utah on the most gorgeous road trip:

(Also in that other post I linked up there.)

And I know this is not a very picturesque shot of my girls, huddled over their phones of all things, in a random Taco Bell en route to Utah, but there was something about the slant of the sun and all three of those lovies of mine sitting there together that caught my breath and made me so grateful.

Best COLD time up in Utah with so much family and friends we adore, complete with high school friends, skiing, a gorgeous winter hike, card games galore, trying on a 4,282 wedding dresses (ha!), painting and bringing in 2020!

All that and much more that happened in Utah back HERE.

And that is a December wrap!

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  1. So fun to see all those Romanian missionaries I know and love. I also really love your chalkboard door. I want to do something similar to display special quotes and focus words. Inspiring! You are amazing at balancing what looks to be a crazy but fun month of December ๐Ÿ™‚

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