The beginning of December we went back to Texas and family for the first time in almost two years.  It was so nice to be home and I got to meet my niece!  It was so nice we wore short sleeves most of the time.

Christmas eve we had some family and friends over for a Jewish Feast.  I got the idea from a friend and it was awesome!  We ate by candlelight and had some great food, and afterwards we acted out the Christmas story.  Here are a few snapshots from Christmas morning:
Enjoying the Thomas train set

Shaking to try to figure out what's inside

Opening joint gifts...

Enjoying bouncy toys from Grandma

After our morning family time, we headed to a dinner put on by our church.  We went for the specific reason that our children were invited to serve.  It was a little crazy with kids serving food, but adults were standing by to help.  Lucas was in charge of handing out plates at the beginning of the line and Cobin gave rolls.  Afterwards we went to hang out with family at their house.  It has been such a great year and we're looking forward to the next!
I'm a little late with this post, but this year Cobin and Lucas were in soccer.  I can't find the pics of Lucas from his soccer class.  He was too young for the club soccer by a month, but he loved his class.  Cobin was on the Columbia team and he really enjoyed it. 



Lucas turned 5 just 5 days before Halloween, so we had a costume party.  A STAR WARS themed costume party.  I think Lucas was happy with the cake depiction of Annikan and Obi Wan duking it out.  
Making a wish...
Our little Ewok
Light Saber fight
Yoda fights with the force.


Blueberry Farm

We finally got around to taking our computer to the shop.  Its all fixed and now I can post.  It was a bad hard drive, but we had a warranty, thank goodness. 

There is a lovely farm here that we visited to pick blueberries for the first time.  It was so much fun!!  And tasty.  Do they seriously think anyone can pick them without sampling along the way?  I hope not, because we all did, especially Micah.  I finally convinced him to drop one in the bucket but he got it back out and into his mouth.  He picked a bunch but didn't contribute to the take-home at all.  We later had a couple batches of blueberry muffins and some blueberry pancakes.  We'll be back next year for sure.


First Week of Homeschooling

I was nervous the week before school started.  I had spent all this time picking, buying, and reading curriculums that maybe I worked myself up.  I prepared for the worst behavior from my toddler, and whining and complaining from my big boys.  It went AMAZING though.  We are schooling year round -four days a week with seven weeks off throughout the year.  At least, that's the plan for this year.  Here is an peek into our school:

We start off with calendaring during breakfast.  Scripture, character, and a bit of spanish study take place then.
The side of our schoolroom with my desk and the older two kids desks.

The other side of the school room.  There is another cabinet and Micah's little desk on the right side cut out of the pic.

In our schoolroom, a workchart with velcro subjects allows Cobin (and Lucas-he has his own) to see what subjects we are going to do that day.  He also likes the feeling of accomplishment that he gets when he finishes a subject and gets to pull it off the chart.
Keeping Micah entertained one morning with connect 4.
Study of the Ancients: Egyptian tablet making with hieroglyphs.
The finished product. 
We also made a 'papyrus' scroll, though I didn't get any pictures of it opened up yet.
I cannot express how happy I am to be doing this.  Hopefully it doesn't wear off!

Treasure Hunt

A while ago I found some reward charts that were treasure map themed with gold coin stickers for each  good thing done.  I have been saving up for a while up till the treasure hunt James and I put on for the boys.  I got some pirate swords (plastic), Pirates' Booty corn puffs, the new Pirates: Band of Misfits movie, some pirates' club shirts with each boys name on it, and a treasure chest filled with treasure!  I may have gone a little overboard in my excitement, but it made for a fun saturday!  I made a map and had clues that were around the house, inside and out, and led to the sandy place, an area in the park just for little kids with pails and shovels where the treasure was actually buried (thanks James!!) with an X on top of it.

Ancient Treasure Map 'found' in our basement
First Clue at the Flag Pole
Daddy even dressed as a buccaneer!
Our best pirate pose.  ARRGH!
Pirate's Booty and movie
The last  clue lead to the X
Daddy and Micah watch as we dug for gold!
Gold and some jewels too!

First day of School pics

We had a fun 'Not Back to School' party the friday before we started homeschooling.  It basically consisted of having fun at a water park, making schoolroom rules together, first day pics, filling out a beginning of the year questionnaire, discussing our school schedule, and a McDonald's playplace trip and dinner -- a rare treat.  Here are the pics:


Elmos everywhere..

Micah has really gotten into Elmo since family gave him a Singing Elmo for christmas last year.  So, for Micah's second birthday, I made Elmo cupcakes.  He also got an Elmo chair and phone as well as some clothes and a big Woody and Bullseye from Toy Story.  My baby's growing up so fast.  ( :  Just about potty training time!



My latest adventure was stand up paddle boarding (SUP) with my sister in law.  We were very ambitious and wouldn't settle with wasting our time on a silly lake.....we paddle boarded across Elliot Bay.  Amazingly, we didn't get in the way of the ferries or container ship that went by when we were out, though we did have to stop often for smaller private vessels.  While we were out we saw several jelly fish and a seal close up.  We both fell in--paddle boarding requires extreme balance and the water was cold!!  The water rocking my board left me with that sensation the ground is moving until the next day and I am still sore from the 3-4 hour balancing and paddling workout, but it was worth it.  I have a little fear of deep water (including deep ends of swimming pools) so I feel great having stared down the murky waters of the Puget Sound.   



I have been planning my ten year anniversary perhaps since before we got married-Hawaii.  The one place I have wanted to visit in my lifetime was Hawaii.  I would like to visit other places, but Hawaii is the place on the top of my list, by a big margin.  We were going to go to Japan this year (our 9th anniversary) and to Hawaii next, but some kinks in our plans threw us to Hawaii this year instead.  My mom came to babysit the kids while James and I went for a week.  And somehow we were able to swing it practically free!  We were so blessed to be able to go and I want to cherish it with a blog post full of some of my favorite pictures.