We started off the new year, with our annual get together with my sister and her family.... I don't remember if I have mentioned it here, or not, but my sis and her family live 4 doors down from us. After living clear across the country for 17 years, it has been a blast to live so close! We never know how long this season will last, so we try to get together as much as we can.... which, these days, isn't as often as we'd like!
Yes, we are crazy, and allowed all of our kids to stay up to ring in the New year... Ella Grace was pretty much begging us to go to bed, but she pushed through and made it until 12:01 am! ha ha! We watched the fireworks on tv and took a few pictures, then all headed to bed to get some sleep! I snapped some pictures of the tv screen of the fireworks show in Seattle... its always been a dream to go down there to see the fireworks, but I'm so NOT a crowd and traffic person, so this is the best view I'm gonna get!
Earlier in the day on New Years Eve, I had a wonderful surprise show up on my doorstep... I call her my "sister" friend, Esun. She lived here our first couple of years here, and when we met, we just instantly became close. They moved to Japan and have been there for 3 years, but are PCS'ing back to the US, so they flew to Seattle to begin their long journey to their next duty station, and I had no idea they were coming through! I was sooo excited to see her, and her precious family, and they agreed to come over for dinner on the next evening! We got to spend several hours catching up, and sharing what the Lord has done in each of our lives. I was thrilled to be able to spend some time with her and meet her newest little boy, who turned two, and she had not had the chance to meet Ella Grace, so it was sweet all the way around!
Allyson and Abigail spent lots of time together when they were 3 years younger, and one time got into some "trouble" with red nail polish.... they had helped themselves and gotten red nailpolish all over our bathroom carpet, so when they asked to do Pedicures, we couldn't resist letting them do it... supervised this time! They were so cute with each other and picked up right where they left off, just like Esun and I did!
Our families together, minus Ella Grace, who had already gone to bed, exhausted from her late New Year's Eve the night before. I wish I had thought to take the group picture before she had gone to bed.... :(
The boys, and their cousin enjoying some time outside.... the kids didn't go back to school until January 7th, so they had a lot of time to hang out!
For Christmas, Brad got Allyson and I tickets to go see the Wizard of Oz at the Children's Theatre in Seattle.... we had a blast, and the play was so wonderful! Every time we have gone, they out-do the previous play, and we LOVE going, but rarely get up there to go! Brad took the other three kiddo's to the Seattle Aquarium, and hung out at Pike's Place Market, while they waited for us to finish at the play, but he didn't have a camera with him to document their time, but they had a great time! Afterwards, we went to shop for my brother's upcoming wedding shower, and then went out to eat, as our last outing for Christmas break...... the kids were NOT ready to head back to school (with the exception of Ella Grace, who LOVES to go), but have settled back into the routine, and all is going well!
Next, we were able to celebrate Allyson's "Gotcha" day... these days are a pretty big deal to our family.... while the birthday is important, the Gotcha day, is our first memories with our children.... basically a time to remember their "birth" into our family! They are always a bit emotional for me, as I think back to that day of bringing home our babies.... and Allyson's brings back amazing memories of a wonderful trip to Korea, my first time there! Taking her into my arms at the Agency in Korea was one of the most bittersweet days of my life. I was thrilled to become her Mommy, but taking her out of her Foster Mother's arms was the most difficult thing I have done. Allyson was SO loved by her foster family, and we are forever grateful to them for taking such good care of her. It's hard to believe that she has been home for 6 years.... it still feels like yesterday!
She always chooses Strawberry cupcakes for her treat!
Next, in the lineup came Jacob's first Robotics Meet. They have been meeting once a week all year at school, getting ready for this one competition! We had never been to anything like it, but it was really fun to watch. Jacob had a great time, but was frustrated with their overall performance. It's hard to get that robot to do what you want it to do, in the 2 minutes alloted! It was a great experience for him, and he looks forward to doing more of the same!
Jake's face kind of says it all..... :)
We spent MLK Monday doing one of our favorite activites up here.... innertubing! We only have to drive about an hour and a half away from our house, and this is what we get! Absolutely stunning views of mountains and snow! Our friend, Jason, was visiting from Oklahoma, so we took him with us to let him experience a little bit of "winter" weather! We had a great day! This was Ella Grace's first trip to the mountain, and she was happy, as long as she was sliding down the mountain, but the in between times weren't very fun for her.... she absolutely HATES being cold, and she also doesn't like to keep her hat and gloves on! I can't tell you how many times we put them back on, but we finally got smart, and put Brad's HUGE gloves on her and put her coat over the gloves, so she couldn't get them off! She had huge MAN hands, but at least they were warm! By the last run, she was crying, begging to be warm, so when we got to the car and got the heater turned on, she perked right back up!
Lastly, we celebrated my hubby's 42nd birthday! Are we really that OLD??? Doesn't seem possible, but I guess it's really true! We (Jacob and I) decided it would be fun to actually light all 42 candles! We went out to eat with family, and enjoyed the day!
The rest of the month was filled with daily routine, therapies for Ella Grace, and para-subbing at the elementary school some for me! The last week, I have worked more than I have in a LONG time, and I'm feeling pretty exhausted! lol! I don't know how Mom's balance it all with working, keeping up with the house, cooking, and trying to be a great Mom in between it all! I'm thankful for the extra hours I was able to pick up, but will be happy to have a few days off next week (I hope!).
Looking forward to February.... celebrating another birthday and Gotcha Day for our sweet Ella Grace, and I'm sure, lots more excitement to come!