Every year I seem to be in denial that my children - and I - are getting older. I still can't believe that I am old enough to have an 11 year old. I started the tradition when he was really young to do a friend party every year, which is something that I tend to regret, especially when one of the kids wants something elaborate. Thankfully Will took it easy on us this year. All he wanted to do was have a few friends over for pizza and a movie. Totally easy! So 4 or 5 of his good friends from school and/or church came over and invaded the back living room for a couple of hours.
After the movie they had cake and ice cream and opened presents.
Will said he wanted a Ninjago cake - this is what I came up with, which he wasn't super happy with but it was the best I could do with my minimal cake decorating knowledge.
WILL'S SCOUT ADVANCEMENT
Because Will turned 11, he is no longer in Cub Scouts and has moved up to Boy Scouts. He wouldn't sit still long enough for us to get a picture of him alone with his awards at his last pack meeting, so here's a picture of him with his awesome Cubmaster.
Normally I'm not a big fan of Halloween. I don't see much point in celebrating a day where we have to spend a bunch of money on costumes and candy. But this year was a little more fun cause Bill and I decided to dress up. Will was the Grim Reaper, Kayla was a vampire, Sarah was Sophia the First for the second year in a row, and Bill and I were a honey bee and her honey :)
Will wanted me to include this picture of him with his candy. I think he had over 200 pieces by the end of the night. We apparently live in a very generous neighborhood.
MOMMY/DAUGHTER AND MOMMY/SON DATES
I stole this idea from my brother-in-law, who has done it with each of his kids. Basically, each child gets to go out with me by themselves every 3 months. We started back in September or October, and so far we've gone to see a movie, gone out to eat, and gone to the mall to see Santa Clause and ride a carousel. They've been so much fun so far, and I'm really excited to continue.
This year's Christmas was WONDERFUL! And that's all thanks to my amazing husband. For my Christmas present this year he sent me off to Utah BY MYSELF for 5 days while he held down the fort. I got to stay with my mom and sister, watch movies and eat yummy food; I got treated to a haircut; I got to go to my dad's Christmas concert; I got to see some extended family I wasn't expecting to see; I got to see the lights at Temple Square; basically I got to have a blast! It was a little hard being away from Bill and the kids during that time, but I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go back West for a bit.
Of course, the fun didn't end there. When I got back to Illinois it was time to enjoy being with Bill's side of the family. His parents came out for Christmas, so we packed in as much fun as we could in a week and a half. We went bowling, swimming, Grandma and Grandpa took various kids on special dates, Bill and I got to go on a date, and of course we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day all together playing games, eating food, and celebrating the Savior.
Our Christmas Eve dinner was a shepherd's feast. We had lamb, dates, raisins, bean soup, bread, and fruit. I think the kids enjoyed sitting on the floor to eat.
Christmas Eve program, with a number of musical performances and a short nativity play
We played a bunch of Minute to Win It games at Bill's brother's house after Christmas dinner. I think the adults had almost as much fun as the kids did.
And to top off a wonderful Christmas vacation, this past weekend we drove over to Indiana to visit with my friend Eve for a whole day. She and I have been friends since we were in junior high, so I was thrilled when I found out that she and her family were moving only about 3 hours away from us. Unfortunately her husband had to work all day, but we still had a wonderful time with Eve and her two adorable little boys Abe and Jamie. The kids were worried that they would be bored the whole time, cause her boys are so much younger than our kids, but by the end of the day everyone was getting along really well and we all had so much fun.
Bill was Jamie's buddy the whole day, it was so cute to see them together
Eve helping everyone pick out which picture they want to use to make Shrinky Dinks.
Top picture - 1998(?)
Bottom picture - 2016
Both of us are doing our best to age gracefully :-)
It's hard to believe that we managed to pack in that much fun in just a couple of months. 2016 was a pretty great year for our family, and we are all looking forward to what 2017 has to offer.