So…

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So, what did happen to the daily posting? It got to be too much. Maybe 2-3 times per week posting is more realistic. I’ll try to stick with that. Since my last update we have been busy! Last weekend it was sleepover after sleepover. Friday night Annika’s friend Kyla spent the night. We dropped her off at home on our way to gymnastics Saturday morning. And then after gymnastics it was lunch and time for Annika’s friend Maija to come over and spend the night. By Sunday morning Kris and I were ready for some quiet time! Both girls were excellent but it is just a busy house when guests are over. Here are the kids on Friday night playing cowboys:

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Why yes, Levi is wearing an old dance costume of Auntie Krystle’s. Isn’t that what cowboys wear? At least he has his hat and what was earlier a lasso!

This last week was normal for us. Annika and James had swimming lessons on Thursday. I was going to send Kris with them again so he could go into the boys locker room with James to help him change. But Annika said she was uncomfortable being in the girls locker room by herself so all five of us went to swimming lessons. Levi was a little “busy” in the bleachers but it wasn’t too bad. And I like seeing how good Annika and James are getting at swimming. They both have a ways to go to be proficient but I can see the progress.

Friday night was game night. Kris and I were wondering if people were growing tired of “game night.” We haven’t actually played any games in a year or so. There is just too many people and way too many little kids of the 3 and under crowd to keep an eye on. And for the last few months not many people have made it over. But this past Friday we had everybody there! And while there was no game playing there was a whole lot of catching up, laughing and wine, beer and whiskey drinking. Well, by some there was. My single glass of wine probably wasn’t what made the party. Heh. It was great though and I already can’t wait for next month. Here’s Ayla on game night sporting her first pony tail!

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And here are Annika and James playing a quick game of Hobbit Lego Memory before the rest of the guests arrived.

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Yesterday was gymnastics again, lunch and then off to Grandpa and Grandma’s house for the afternoon/evening. It was supposed to be a game day but we ended up only playing one game. Instead it was stand around the food and chat day. And there is nothing wrong with that!

Today was church. And after church the kids and I headed home while Kris stayed for the annual meeting. Someone at church nominated Kris for council and he was voted in today. This should be a new adventure for him! Say hello to church councilman Kris!

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He seems excited.

We spent the rest of today staying as close to home as possible. I’m sure the roads were terrible with the sleeting rain which turned to snow on them. The kids were so excited to go outside and play though when they saw that it had turned to a wet snow. They tried sledding but the snow was too sticky for that. Instead they made snowmen and played on the playset with the neighbor boy Jack.

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I received these cute wooden snowman pieces as a Christmas gift this year and this was our first chance to try them out. Annika’s snowman looks awesome!

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And now we’re in the middle of bedtime. Levi is already sleeping, but not before he posed for some pictures while has bath water was running tonight.

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And Kris and James are currently reading.

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And Annika is brushing her teeth.

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Within a half hour we should have a quiet house of sleeping children. Here’s to another busy week!


Happy Birthday Nana!

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I didn’t write for two days and nobody said anything!

First, yesterday was Nana’s birthday. Happy Birthday Nana! I couldn’t find a good, recent picture of you (watch out for my camera the next time I see you then!) so how about a picture of your precious middle son holding up a picture from his childhood? What a cutie!

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This week we’ve been finding our new normal. Kris started his second semester at school on Monday so we all started new routines this week. Tuesday and Wednesday Kris gets the kids up and to Krista’s house by 7am so he can be to class by 8am. That’s a pretty early day for the kids. Tuesday night James was a zombie. I was tired too so he and I spent most of the evening vegging out on the couch. Last night all three kids were SO crabby. Oh my goodness the crying and whining and bad behavior was awful! Early bedtimes for all! This morning I had to get them to Krista’s by 7:30am. It wasn’t quite as early so I think everyone got enough sleep last night. We’ve had good behavior so far tonight.

Annika and James had their first swimming lesson of the session today. Kris took them so I could stay home with Levi. It’s just easier if Levi doesn’t have to sit in the bleachers for almost an hour. They both had a good time at swimming lessons.


No New News

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There’s not a lot new today. After I got home from work Annika and James came in from playing outside. It was cold out today (single digits) so I’m not sure why they were even out there. Crazy little kids.

Then it was normal homework, dinner, break up some arguments, etc.

After dinner we all went to Target. The kids start swimming lessons on Thursday and needed some new suits. Plus we needed a slew of other things of course. It’s Target!

Then it was home, snack and then bedtime. Whew! Busy.

The kids made a quick fort out of dining room chairs and blankets tonight. When we got home from Target Levi ran under it and yelled “hide seek!” I was so excited to hear him say that! And earlier in the evening he wanted to play with James so he looked at me and asked “Good guy?” Yep, he doesn’t have a name yet for James so he’s substituted good guy instead. And when we asked him what his name was he responded with “Me!” So, we have LaLa, Good Guy and Me. Those are some terrific kids, right there.

Picture below from last August with cousin Ayla.

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Sunday Surprise

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As we were sitting in church this morning waiting for the service to start I had Levi sitting on my lap and we were reading a book. Something caught my eye and I looked up over my shoulder only to see Nana and Papa walking up the aisle towards us! It was a Sunday surprise! James immediately headed out one end of the pew, around the front of church and into the other end of the pew so he could sit right next to Papa. We hadn’t seen Nana and Papa since Christmas Eve so it was a really nice surprise to get to spend some time with them today!

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After church we went to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings (football playoffs, don’t ya know). I was on the “kid side” of the table so I was unable to partake in most of the adult conversation but that’s OK. I saw Kris having a lovely conversation with his parents and just tried to make sure the kids were behaving and had what they wanted/needed.

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After lunch Nana, Annika, Levi and I ran to Target quick for some groceries while Papa and Kris waited for James to finish eating. As we were leaving I heard James say he was still hungry so Kris offered him Levi’s barely eating cheeseburger. James has got to be growing because he’s eating like crazy lately!

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Kris stopped by Target when we were almost finished and grabbed Annika so he could drop her off at a playdate with Maija. And then Nana, Levi and I met the rest of them at home. James has been asking to play Ponyopoly for a week now and has been turned down so he was very happy today when Nana and Papa said yes! They weren’t able to play a whole game (too long) so they set a time limit and the person at the end with the most money and deeds would be the winner. And the winner was…James!

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After Nana and Papa left the boys chilled with the iPad for a while until Annika got home and we had dinner. Then everyone played a bit before it was bath time. Bath time came early tonight because of the sleepover last night. Annika was up until after midnight! She has given us plenty of pouty face and whining today. An early bedtime it is! And now I must go wash some kids’ hair and get them into bed sooner rather than later.

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Saturday Adventures

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This morning while Kris took Annika and James to gymnastics, Levi and I stayed home to clean. Levi LOVES to help me clean. He gets his own cleaning cloth and he helps me wipe down sinks, walls, doors, etc. He’s actually useful sometimes too with those walls and doors!

Then it was lunch and a thorough cleaning of Annika’s room. That girl had more scraps of paper around! She loves to make lists and write stories and draw pictures. She also sets up these “stations” in her room whenever a friend is coming over to play. So she had stations set up yet from last weekend. The stations could be things she knows her friends like to do or a “fashion” station so they can have fashion shows. This time she had a “make your own doll” station set up with all her Lego friends, Disney Fairies, Polly Pockets, etc. set out so her friends could make their favorite doll to play with while at our house. It took a while to get that all cleaned up so I could vacuum in there without sucking up a toy or scrap of paper.

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Tonight is an exciting night! Annika and James are at Elyse and Liam’s house for a sleepover. They have been looking forward to this all week! And they kept asking all day how much longer until they could go. First before they left though, Ayla came over!

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She’s spending the night at our house and the four kids had fun playing together for an hour and a half or so before Annika and James left.

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They even sat down to have a snack together before Annika and James left and it was almost a disaster.

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Levi was so upset when Annika and James sat in the chairs next to Ayla. He wanted to sit next to Ayla. So we had to do some rearranging because Levi also insisted that he sit between Ayla and James. Oh, were there tears from Levi until we got all the chairs in the exact spot he wanted them! After that it was all smiles again.

After Annika and James left, Ayla and Levi played with play-doh.

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And then when I dashed upstairs to write this Kris took over and let them loose to play before bedtime. Right now all I hear is squealing and laughter and running and them talking to each other. So cute! I’m going to go down and join them just as soon as I hit publish.


Oldies, But Goodies

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Not much new happening today. I signed the kids up for swimming lessons which start next Thursday. Hopefully this will get them better prepared for our trip to see Gramme in March. I only plan on bringing Levi’s life jacket with on that trip so Annika and James need to hone their skills some more. Or I’ll have to revise my packing plans.

So, instead of a funny story or pictures from today, let’s take a trip back in time…

Here is Annika on her first Halloween at just shy of 2 months old…

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And here is James on his two month birthday…

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And then there is Levi from right before his two month birthday…

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And now a little sibling pic from around that same time…

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Look at my little chubby babies! So cute!


Freezer Burn

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Today Kris put up our new blinds for the front room. See?

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Finally! Some privacy!

The kids have spent most of the evening playing a new form of hide and seek slash freeze tag slash Annika changes the rules whenever she feels like it. It goes like this. Annika and James chase after each other. Whoever touches the other person first either gets frozen (by Annika) or burned (by James).

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If frozen, James has to count to 20 or 40 or 80 (depending upon Annika’s whim) and then while he’s counting with his eyes closed Annika and Levi run away and hide. Once found it’s time to chase again. Even if James touches Annika first she usually has a “reason” why she is not burned and James is frozen and he has to count again.

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It’s a good thing he’s game for it. Levi is just happy to run after Annika and hide with her. Oh, and practice his freezing technique.

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These kids and their imaginations!

Tonight it’s wine/whine night – a monthly night out with my girlfriends at a local wine bar where we get together to talk and drink wine. I’m leaving in just over a half hour. I don’t always make it every month but I’m excited to go this month. Kris said my big sweatshirt I’m wearing is frumpy though and I have to go change before I go. So, this is short and quick and I am off to change!

Oh, one more thing. Tonight I had to mend James’ snow pants and one of his new pairs of gloves. Seams were ripping apart everywhere! Where are my mother and my mother-in-law when I need them? I did a hack job as I am not a gifted sewer like they are but it is done and the clothing is now wearable again. James’ pants in the above pictures? Not so much. Huge holes in those knees!


Promises

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I promised pictures of Levi on his scooter and even though I have a bit of flu (nauseau, body aches, general icky feeling) and stayed home from work today I’m going to keep my promise and write here. I even took some pictures from the comfort of the couch last night. So, Levi got this scooter for Christmas from Grandpa and Grandma and he loves it. It’s his bike and he’s fiercely protective of it. Don’t you dare even look at it. :)

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He’s pretty good at riding it too. In fact, he didn’t need any teaching or coaching. Kris put it together

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and Levi was off!

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So last night I asked Levi if I could take some pictures of him on his bike. I wanted a few for the blog and then I wanted to go lie down. Instead, Levi insisted I take dozens and maybe a video or two. So, I took a few and then laid down and took the rest.

Anything to keep my boy happy.

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Where were James and Annika during all this? Annika was outside playing.

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But not before she gave her dad and I a bit of good-natured attitude.

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God, I love that kid.

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And after James came in from playing…

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He was hiding at the table, playing with play-doh.

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And that’s it. Last night in a nutshell. I may not have much blog fodder for tomorrow since I intend on spending most of the evening resting on the couch. Maybe I can tell you about James and Levi and their current activity – James picking on Levi so Levi is chasing after him. Ah, brothers. :)


Well, That Is A Hard Question

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Well, we’ve pretty much caught up to real-time. I guess I’ll have to tell the kids to do something funny. Or weird. Or blog-worthy in some way. You’d think with three silly kids at home that would be easy, right?

At Grandpa and Grandma’s house on the 22nd, Annika wrote a “play” but was too self-conscious to read it out loud. Instead, she had James read it (he did a really good job!) and then at the end she danced around which was her “part” in the play (or really a story).

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Every night when we sit down to dinner we ask Annika and James how their days were. Annika usually says “fine” and then we have to ask her more to get some details. With James it’s the opposite extreme. We ask James how his day was and then he says “Well, that is a hard question.” And then he launches in to a minute by minute accounting of his day. First he got off the bus. Then he walked to his classroom. Then he took of his coat and boots and snowpants and put them in his locker. Then he sat down on his spot in the circle. Then he…well, you get the point. Details change here and there depending upon if they had centers that day or outside play time or anything else. It can take a long time for the poor child to get through his day. No wonder he is always the last one at the table eating! Not only is he a slow poke who gets distracted easily (boy is going to starve next year when he only has 20 minutes to get his lunch, eat it and clean up after it at school!) but he also spends most of dinner telling us about his day!

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I haven’t grabbed the camera in a while. It is my goal tonight to take some pictures and hopefully grab some video of Levi riding his new scooter he got for Christmas. We’re letting him ride it in the house since it has not yet been outside. The rule is once it goes outside in the spring, it can’t come back inside. But he’s so cute right now riding his “bike” around the house. He even says “My bike!” if anyone else goes near it and then runs over to it to grab it away from anyone who dared touch it.

How about a picture of the puppies to end this (short) post?

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Christmas 2012

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First off – a big congratulations to Kris who finished his first semester of nursing school just before Christmas! He received good grades and even was told by his Clinical instructor that he’s going to make a good nurse. Woo-hoo! Kris starts semester number 2 on January 15th. 1 semester down, 3 to go!

Christmas 2012 has come and gone. It was pretty great for us. The kids were spoiled rotten again. I don’t think they know or appreciate just how good they have it! We celebrated Christmas with Grandpa, Grandma, Krystle, Pierce, Ayla plus Mike and Elysia on Saturday the 22nd at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. First we sat down to a wonderful meal together. Super yummy! Then shortly after Grandma decided it was time to open gifts. The kids hadn’t even asked if we could do that but I think Grandma was itching to get going. :) There were squeals of delight over their gifts. There really were some big hits that day. The rest of the afternoon/early evening was spent playing with new toys. James received a pair of real drum sticks from Mike. And Mike even gave him a little impromptu drum lesson. The look of idolization on James’ face was priceless! A real drummer! Real drum sticks!

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Before the evening got too late Krystle had Annika go up to get one last surprise for the kids. She came down with four more packages. Once opened we found 4 sets of matching pajamas for the cousins. Too cute! Of course we had to put them on and get a nice cousin photo.

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The next day, Sunday, was another big day. This time it was Christmas with Nana, Papa, Carrie, Adam, Isak, Hans, Dusty, Melanie and Mabel! We went down right after church so we were there with plenty of time for lunch. After a yummy lunch (where we ate some of that Swedish sausage that the kids helped make the week earlier) it was time again to sit down and exchange some gifts. Wow – with that many little kids it is like a paper storm going on! We were trying to keep it somewhat organized but those little fingers just can’t wait to tear open that paper! I had a hard time keeping track of who was opening what and who is was from. More squealing over gifts, of course.

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After a nice afternoon of visiting, watching football, playing games and with new toys, it was time again to change the kids into their new pajamas and try to get a picture. Unfortunately, we waited a bit too long this day and Levi was tired and not interested in participating. And there was no way we were changing his mind that night!

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Shortly thereafter Kris and I bundled up Levi and got ready to head home. We had intended to leave all three kids there overnight since we were planning on coming back the next day to go visit Great Papa at the nursing home. But with Levi being so tired we thought it was best if we just took him with us. He was fine with that…until he figured out that his cherished La-La (Annika) would be staying there. He threw a gigantic fit, crying and wailing for his La-La. We said good-bye to Annika multiple times, reassured him that we would see her the next day, tomorrow, right after we wake up from sleeping, etc. but he was having none of it. We had to hold him down while we got his seat belt buckled and then he cried a good 20 minutes of the drive home. My poor baby. We tried distracting him with Christmas lights, singing songs, more reassuring explanations, etc. He eventually settled down but he didn’t fall asleep until we were almost home. And the next morning when we asked him if he was ready to go back to Nana and Papa’s house and see Annika he jumped up to get his coat and shoes on. He was SO ready.

And so that’s exactly what we did. We headed back down to Nana and Papa’s house where we had a bit of lunch and then we caravaned it down to southern Minnesota to visit Great Papa. Great Papa looked great and we had such a nice visit with him. He opened a couple gifts, got our Christmas card posted on his wall and we had some nice conversation. We even got a few pictures in of him and Kris and him and the kids.

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After our visit we rushed back to Nana and Papa’s house to get ready for church. Uncle Jim was preaching that night and we wanted to make sure we were on time. Annika was wearing her new dress from Target (from their Neiman Marcus line that went on sale 50% off right before Christmas – she was in love with that dress for weeks and never thought she’d get it because I’m too frugal to buy her a $100 dress but then at 50% off plus some other discounts and she was in dress heaven!) and the rest of us tried to look good too. :) It was a nice service with Nana and Papa being up in the choir. A nice surprise was one of Kris’ cousins was there too attending with her husband and family. We don’t see them often so that was really nice! After the service we took a couple pictures in front of the Christmas tree and then we headed for home. We were all hungry for dinner and managed to find a Taco Bell open on the way home. We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner of tacos in the truck. :)

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Then it was home and into bed for the kids. That wasn’t too hard! They knew Santa might make a visit so off to bed they went. And Santa did make a visit to our house! I knew the presents were down there by the tree so when I woke up the next morning after hearing the kids up and about I just laid there and listened. Surely they would come bounding into our room any minute now asking us to get up so they could open presents, right? Nope. I laid there for an hour before I finally got up at 8am. I had just heard James exclaim “Oh boy!” downstairs and thought I should go investigate. Turns out Levi was still sleeping and James and Annika were having fun playing together with their new toys they’d received on Saturday and Sunday. They were playing right next to the tree and the Santa presents but left everything alone. Wow! What great kids! Kris and Levi stumbled downstairs not too long after and we settled down to open the gift they each received from Santa. Here is Annika. She was pretty excited to get Olivia’s House from the Lego Friends collection.

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After the Santa gifts were opened we had our traditional Swedish pancake breakfast. And then we sat down together again to open the gifts that we gave each other. The kids had a whole other pile of presents to open from us. By this time I could already see the present fatigue setting in. They’d already received so much that they really didn’t even want or need anything else. We could have ended Christmas there and they would have been just fine.

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After our presents were opened we let them play again for another couple hours. We had no plans for this day so everyone just stayed in their pajamas and played with their new toys. Just after lunch I lured them all into the living room so we could open our stockings. Yes, even more presents. There are just little gifts in the stockings though…plus candy. :)

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Then the kids settled in for a few more hours of play. I wasn’t feeling too hot that day so I spent most of the day sitting on the couch cross-stitching. You can see the kids and Kris’ stockings in some of the pictures. It’s about time I finish one for me! Later that afternoon we skyped with Gramme so she could see the kids open their gifts from her. Yep, our fourth gift opening of the day! Gramme really got the kids some great gifts though and they were so excited! And they love seeing Gramme on skype too. A bonus this time was that Krystle, Pierce and Ayla were there too so we got to skype with them too!

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And that was our Christmas 2012. It was so great! James said it was his best Christmas ever. And it really was awesome!

The rest of Christmas break from school was spent being lazy at home. We had a few playdates with friends but for the most part we just stayed in. It was nice to have some extended downtime. Of course now we’re back to our normal life of work and school. I’m sure we’ll throw a few adventures in there too!

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