other december happenings, including christmas.

and now, for my standard monthly recap, minus the things that were exciting enough (or i had too many picture of) to have their own posts (hazel’s cake, her birthday, christmas baking, and a quilt). turns out, there’s still a lot to talk about.

firstly, anna decided to try out for her middle school basketball team. we spent a good bit of time on the secret forest basketball court, working on skills and fundamentals, but it wasn’t enough. these girls a) have been playing for a long time and b) are HUGE. she didn’t make it, but she wasn’t too bummed about it, so that’s good.

in other school news, for the last full week of school, both kids had “spirit week”, where they had to dress up according to each day’s theme (which required some thrift shopping on my part). anna was all in on all of the days and won several prizes. isaac participated in the first two, before deciding he was too cool for such nonsense. but here they are on mismatched day for anna and hawaiian shirt day for ike.

there were a lot of christmas movie nights. all the usual suspects. charlie brown, christmas vacation, polar express, a christmas story (made especially more fun because we toured the house on our summer road trip), and of course, our favorite: elf. some of these necessitated themed snacks, like hot chocolate for polar express and the four main food groups of elves for elf (candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup).

december is also a good football month for us these days. it used to be that the season was pretty much over for the bills by this point, but in the last few years, the games actually matter and are exciting to watch. ruby even has her own jersey now. 🙂

a week before actual christmas, we had our swedish christmas celebration with the grandlidboms and that side of the fam. but before that can happen, swedish meatballs must be prepared, a tradition that isaac likes to share with his grampa. we shipped him off to make this year’s batch, and derek’s mom sent these two pics, one of the chefs this year and one from two years ago. the boy is changing fast.

ruby joined us for swedish christmas this year and fully enjoyed herself.

on christmas eve day, isaac reprised his role of grampa’s sous chef and helped him make several loaves of saffron bread.

despite the excitement of december (two christmasses, her birthday, lots of daily sugar consumption), life went on as normal for hazel. school. play food restaurants. and an exciting transition to her cool new bed. really, it’s the same bed upside down to be a loft bed, with a cool tent over it.

on christmas eve morning, anna and i made a quick run for one last gift for derek (super exciting: saw horses from home depot), and we spotted some cool glasses that turn christmas lights into different christmas themed shapes. we were sort of obsessed with them. i managed to take some photos of the transformed tree lights by holding up the glasses to my phone camera.

finally!!! it was christmas morning!! even though they won’t oblige me with matching pajamas anymore, they are still willing to take a quick group photo before opening presents. i assume it’s because they know it’s probably a bad time to take a stand and balk at a pic.

it was a wee bit smaller christmas this year. the boy only wanted one really big ticket item (air pods), but we snuck in a few other gifts just to keep him off the trail. anna got a few bigger things (vans, a 3D pen, a laminator), but her favoritie present was a plush light brahma chicken, which she named barack, in memory of our real chicken, barack obrahma, who recently died a horrific death at the beaks of his fellow coop mates. hazel is still super fun to buy for at christmas, and received dozens of smaller toys, mostly in the my little pony family, but also some books, and lots of art supplies.

after presents were opened and the aftermath was tidied, we prepared our traditional enormous breakfast feast. pancakes, english muffins, corned beef hash, bacon, and all manner of eggs. this would tide us over for the second round of gifts (from my family) and a long afternoon opening up all of the new possessions and testing them out. derek’s parents came over for a second feast of a perfectly cooked prime rib, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese. we saved the green vegetables for our new years resolutions.

one million new toys at her disposal, and she chooses a box and sneaking in time on anna’s new pocket simon game.

i got a lot of baking and quilting themed gifts. tools and such. but also this awesome fabric. the new anna maria horner fat quarter bundle. and a curated bundle by then came june.

i wasn’t super motivated to clean up after christmas this year, and i thought it might be the first time in my entire life that i would let the stuff stay out for a bit. i figured i would do a bit at a time. so, on the day after christmas, while the big kids and derek were at church, i was just going to take down the ornaments. a few hours later, this was the scene. by that afternoon, there was no evidence christmas ever happened. oh well, there’s always next year.

with covid cases on the rise again, we figured it was time to get the girls vaccinated. i was sort of on the fence, because i do feel like the risks/rewards are really a toss up with this age kiddo, but with things going a little haywire, we figured we ought to do our part. with the promise of a new toy for hazel (two days after christmas) and some candy for anna (amidst all the excessive cookie consumption), and lunch at chick fil a, it was mostly smooth sailing.

on the thursday before new years eve (and my new years resolution to cut out carbs, including beers), my pal heather and i went out for a couple of drinks at wiseman brewery in downtown-ish ws/nc. it was music bingo night, with 80s and girl power themes, and i won two tickets for future drinks, so we decided to make this an every other week ritual. except i’ll have to find a low carb option for my future bingo endeavors…

and finally, no monthly recap post would be complete without a collage of ruby pics.

and, like that, another month (and year) is in the books.

hoping 2022 is a better one.

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