For his birthday, Ryan wanted to go sledding, so we drove up to White Pass so we could find snow.
We found an obliging hill.
Ryan was trying to protect Annie's face from the blowing snow, not smother her. I promise.
This first hill was pretty steep and the snow was slippery for walking. The kids had a hard time with it, so we found a different hill. This one was attached to an RV parking lot, so there wasn't any moving traffic.
I don't know if Annie is trying to catch snow as much as stick her tongue out at me.
We picked up one of those great, big, chocolately cakes from Costco today for Ryan's birthday. We decided we could just as easily enjoy the cake tonight, as wait for his actual birthday.
We didn't put all the candles on his cake. Just three on one side, and seven on the other. I let the kids put the candles in, and I did the lighting. I guess the kids got excited about "helping" so they tried to help Ryan blow out his candles. You can see what he thought about that.
The kids were nice to their parents, and didn't get up until after 7 am this morning. Ryan and I heard the excited feet and voices downstairs, followed by the footsteps coming up to our room. "It's CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!"
Maddie got right to work putting on her new chapstick.
I love Annie's face here. She was unbelievably excited about her basketball from Santa.
Once we were done opening presents, we cleaned up and got ready for our neighbor, Dan, to come for a waffle breakfast. With our new waffle iron. :)
Then we just hung out, and played with the new stuff. Elizabeth made some bracelets on the wonder loom.
We cannot have too many craft supplies in this house. Seriously.
The arrow is pointing to the Alien Sphere Ryan received. This thing is an upgrade from the usual RC helicopter because the whole thing is protected by a wire sphere. The blades have yet to look beat up.
Ryan also got this in his stocking:
Santa had a sense of humor this year.
It was kind of a let down at first. Ryan didn't take a good look at it, thinking it was lotion, so there was no real reaction. But later, when I asked him about it and he figured out what it was, we had a good laugh. And then a test drive. The stuff works.
After lunch, we headed back to Ryan's folks for Christmas presents, part deux and Christmas dinner.
I had no complaints this year about the traditional Christmas Dresses in Front of the Tree picture. Perhaps it's because I warned them last night that I would be taking this picture. Either way, we had cooperation and smiles.
This morning started with Ryan wearing his infamous annual "It's the last day before Christmas break" sweater. It's amazing every. single. year. I posted this picture on Facebook, and it was a hit. He got 54 "likes," and many loving comments. ("That is.... hard to put into words. But you rock it!" and "Wow.... just.... wow." and "That is something special." etc.)
In the afternoon, I went to Annie's Christmas party. I was the only parent to come help out, so I kept busy. It was very nice to have the twins' parties on different days. Of course, I couldn't go to Elizabeth's, and Emma didn't have one for the first time ever. Middle school is too cool for that sort of thing.
The kids decorated waffle cones to make Christmas trees.
And then in the evening, it was our ward Christmas party. First was dinner (at which we sat at our own table- it's a bummer to have 4 kids as it doesn't allow you to sit with other families anymore), and then for the program.
I guess pretty much everyone is sick right now. The germs are hitting everyone. Both the Primary pianist and chorister were home sick, so Sarah W and I filled in last minute. (Attack of the nursery leaders!) My voice hasn't come all the way back yet, so I was really enunciating my mouthed words as I was leading the kids in their songs.
Emma and Elizabeth were angels in the Christmas story. It was another opportunity to use the dresses from Brynne's wedding.
Then the kids sang some songs to get ready for Santa to make his appearance.
Emma wanted an mp3 player, Elizabeth wanted an alarm clock, Annie wanted a basketball, and Maddie wanted an "American Girl doll Elsa." (I think the last one is the toddler Elsa doll. That's what we're going with.)
This is what I see of Ryan these days. When he's actually home, that is.
The guest room has his table, chair, books, and school laptop. That's where he has "set up shop" for his school work. It's amazing really- not only do we pay Gonzaga for the time Ryan spends doing the Admin Internship (the part where he's practicing to be a school principal at school), but there's a whole boat load of school work to do too.
Ryan has a bunch of projects and papers due tomorrow night, and he's been trying so hard to get it done tonight since we have plans tomorrow. He's on track to be done.
And then we have a blissful two week break- a break from his job, and a break from the internship madness.
When he's done tonight, it will mark the halfway point. He's put in his minimum required number of hours already (540 hours since August), and he's halfway done with the school work. I wish I could say that we were set on the "hours" portion of the internship, but I imagine he'll keep busy on that too.
He will be officially done on May 15th of next year, but he says the interns often keep doing intern stuff until the end of the school year. And the final project is, of course, getting a job. We are hoping/praying/keeping our fingers crossed/knocking on wood that the right job will open up and Ryan can get it.
I got to go to kindergarten today. I was able to help out in Maddie's class while they made graham cracker houses. Holy moly, was there some serious candy in Maddie's classroom. Piles and piles of it. And lots of frosting. Every 5 and 6 year old's dream coming true. Miss P told the kids to spread frosting on the plate around the house too. I assume it was to use up the frosting....?
It was our very first ever middle school band and orchestra concert tonight. We sat in the band side of the bleachers. I had a pretty good idea of the musical selection agenda. I had only heard them each 100 times.
Emma is doing very well on her clarinet. She was one of the 3 kids chosen to perform the Dreidel song.
Oh, and she's wearing MY shoes. Stinker.
The songs were short, as the 6th graders have been practicing only since September. Between the band and orchestra, the entirety of the concert was about 20 minutes.
I will say this, after listening to the orchestra play, I realized just how blessed I was that Emma had chosen the clarinet.
Last year's Shave and Play Barbie was such a hit at the local Ag Teacher's White Elephant Exchange, that Ryan felt inspired for me to make more for the special people in his life. Thanks to the Dollar Tree, I was able to make these very cheaply.
Annie took this picture while I was pasting hair to the doll.
Isn't it amazing? And by amazing, I really mean disgusting.
Ryan gave one to his principal, his father, his brother, and his brother-in-law. It was a hit with all of them. And by "hit," I mean they were properly repulsed. (This was posted after Christmas, as we didn't want to ruin the surprise.)