Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014--In Pictures

As I reviewed my photos from the last week, I could tell that I've been spending my time enjoying the moments instead of recording them. Not one of the pictures is that great, but each has preserved the memory. While I wish the photos were better, I'm so grateful for each moment I've spent with the people I love. It's been as perfect as any vacation has ever been.

We've been busy. Some things haven't been that great--Karli was rear ended and although no one was hurt, the car was pretty smashed up. And Sam attempted to cut off the top of one of his fingers as he sliced roast beef for a sandwich--three stitches and that was fine. Minor hiccups, that's all.
 Took a trip to Bass Pro Shop to play and see Santa. Nathan loved the animals on the walls.
 There was so much to see and do. The kids shot guns and bows, looked at the fish, and rode the carousel.
 Jonah is very content to see the world from his mama's back. He hangs out back there, falls in and out of sleep, and watches the excitement.

 We took the whole crew to the Mesa temple lights on December 23rd. This picture was a miracle in itself--all 23 of us in one place is hard enough, but most of the East Valley was there that night. We were lucky to escape with all little children still intact.
 Christmas Eve--our traditional Phoenix Zoo trip, green and red jello in personal serving cups, and a pinata. Not a single picture. All that matters is that Hyrum broke the llama pinata (llama in honor of our Peruvian missionary).

Christmas morning and all of the littles in their Christmas pajamas. I made a sanity decision this year that I would no longer be able to make pjs for all of the married kids and their kids. Last year, I made 11 pairs, and it took more time than I thought it would. Instead, I'll keep making them for my kids, but buy them for the grandkids instead. I love how Jonah is looking at Lily.
 And I had to blow this one up to show Annie's sweet smile. That little girl has changed so much in the two weeks they've been here. I love her squnchy nose when she smiles.

 We celebrated Boxing Day by rallying the troops to help a friend who had been placed in assisted living the week before Christmas. We sorted--garage sale, free on the curb, and Craigslist piles.
 In just over two hours, the house was empty except for her office. It was the best use of our time all week. After working, we drove to Pine to inspect the cabin's progress. Again, no pictures, but it's making progress.
  We've played tons of games around here. Eve taught Grandpa Greg how to play Spot-it (notice all the games and puzzles on the floor).

Hyrum and his friends found a great use for a jar of gumdrops. He walked around with his atom on his head while sporting a found pair of glasses, singing, "I'm a brainiac! I'm a brainiac!"
The boys learned how to play Catan. And the big kids and Dad stayed up late a few nights battling it out themselves.
Don't forget Ticket to Ride--and multiple card games from around the world. We put the game tables to good use.

This puzzle has been out for most of the break, and all that's left now is the black sections. It's been my personal Goliath, and I hope it gets finished tonight! It may not look hard, but this may be one of the hardest we've ever done.

Last night, we took our four married kids to the temple, and the hour we spent together was one of the sweetest of the entire vacation. There is nothing better than being surrounded by your kids in the temple.

With four little grandkids around, there's been enough baby to share.
This little round guy is the most content baby I've ever seen. He never cries--just loves life and food. His name may be Jonah, but he gets called Jonah Fett and Donut almost more than his name.
Eve fluctuates between loving having Ellie and Nathan around all the time to feeling a little insecure. After a small skirmish was over, she crawled into the chair in my room with silent tears rolling down her cheek. "Mom, why do you love Ellie more than me?" It about broke my heart. I had to snuggle that blond little body into my lap and assure her that moms love their girls first, then love their granddaughters. Ever since, she's been reaffirming that her parents love her just as much as we do our grandkids.
And today is New Year's Eve. On the rainy day schedule--a trip to the museum, a food run, video games, a Mexican feast for dinner, and possibly a fun music contest.

2014 has been so good to me. Happy New Year, my friends.