Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Carma, donning her finest red and green, would like to welcome all y'all to this post about everything else that happened in December!
There was much 'decking of halls' that randomly was dragged out over like four days. In the meantime it looked like a bag of the Grinch's stolen goods exploded in the living room. Everyone loved helping Chuck set up the train and Will and Jack meticulously hung up a majority of the ornaments on the tree. And Carma only broke like three over the holiday season so we're calling that a win!

My mom gave the kids each a little gel window cling decoration set and holy moly they entertained the kids so well as they hung them up. Jack played with his regularly throughout the month.
We always have good intentions of turning in our coloring pages to the library, but rarely follow through... but this time we managed it! And if you can find Will's, Jack's and Carma's in their respective age groups then you are a better mom than me; it took me forever haha.

Speaking of the library (when aren't we?) they have a cute monthly program where you can read to therapy dogs, so Will loves it when we make it over for that. The littler children love the play area in general.
Ohhh cute Alayna! She made me a birthday cake AND didn't blink an eye when I took pictures of her darling grey boots because someday I will find an identical pair in my size and all will be well in my life. And also Emily gave me a mint chocolate truffle bar because she speaks my love language ;).

Chuck's parents sent us a super cool 'Christmas Village' lego set and they boys all had the best time putting it together. Carma and I had the best time trying to thwart their progress ;). I awesomely don't have a picture of it all set up BUT good news it's a new tradition to rebuild every year soooo just sit tight for next year's shot!
They also sent along a box of fun extra pieces which turned out to be an excellent before-church activity one Sunday, thanks Grandma and Pops!

 Gathered the kids for a cousin happy birthday video and got these pictures in the meantime, little crazies!
 We enjoyed some nice family togetherness when we all piled in the truck to go look at some craigslist couches one night... during a snowstorm, yikes! Good news, we bought the couches even though they are definitely green NOT brown as the pictures made them look, whoops. But it was a good family bonding experience and we sang Christmas songs on the way home in the blinding snow. #memories

Clyde earned his whittling chip in Scouts! Brother Viehweg was super patient working with the boys. Clyde also got in touch with his inner artist, both at the library, and at school, and also he LOVES Carma, and also he got a basketball hoop as an early Christmas present because "someone" didn't want to move it multiple times to keep it hidden until Christmas morning haha.
 Some Willy Boy moments in December: he also LOVES Carma. One of them was at instant care that day with Chuck... I think Will? And the stapler shot is from when I was helping in his classroom one day, which, again, I legitimately love. My inner secretary is psyched every time I sit down to collate and staple homework packets.

Jack is the funniest kid to take into stores; our new thing is taking pictures next to things that he likes so that we can show Daddy later. It has honestly staved off loads of potential meltdowns over wanting to buy stuff. And he was obviously thrilled when old school Star Wars was playing at Costco one day! His favorite toys at Grandma Pam's house are Quinn's old Star Wars figurines.
Aaaand of course a million pictures of Carma. All pretty self-explanatory, although the bottom left is one I sent to Chuck one night because she was o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with family pictures for a while there. Multiple times a day we had to hike her up so she could point as we labeled each family member. In all seven pictures on the wall. Ahhhh!

Oh one day our furnace went out, just the sorta thing you want to wake up to on a chilly December morning! Chuck did some troubleshooting before work (you know, at 5am) and then the wee bundled children and I ran errands most of the day to enjoy warmth haha. After realizing that Grover's needed the actual part to match I went home and took it out, using little more than a screwdriver and prayer, and then got the replacement... which I graciously allowed Chuck to put in. I'm not one to hog all the glory, you know?
Jack's been slightly more interested in writing letters lately, here are his renditions of Jack, Dad, Pam, and Mom.

Cookie rhyme, cookie time! (is the name of a highly obnoxious Cookie Monster book that we own) Usually we frown upon electronics at the table, but this was the day episode 7 came out and since we clearly were not taking the children to the midnight premiere, we sat around at dinner watching youtube videos of Star Wars conspiracies and plot predictions and such. Also we ate cookies.
This photoset is courtesy of an emotional mom realizing her baby is 9 and almost (possibly already...) too old to snuggle with. Luckily I'm still stronger than him and can hold him down for some sweet bonding moments that he loved - I could tell from the way he was trying to wiggle out of my grasp the entire time. #blessed

My mom had a little bit of a mouse problem at her place in December, so obviously I recruited Chuck to deal with the poison/sticky paper/etc... and then handle the follow-up as well - even when it required a quick detour when he was out home teaching haha:
But seriously, have I mentioned lately how much I love Chuck? He puts so much into his calling and I really respect that - even when date nights end at the church so he can make agendas (left) or consist entirely of stuffing envelopes with the Bishopric's Christmas letter (right... it's cool, we watched Parks & Rec at the same time)

And just because I really liked the Christmas letter, here's a close-up:

The Sunday before Christmas I had grand plans of taking a sweet picture of all four church clothes-clad children, gathered lovingly in front of the Christmas tree... and these are what I ended up with hahahahaha. Close enough!
This was an earlier Sunday in the month - yes, Jack does wear polo shirts and shorts to church when there's snow on the ground. It's cool, we don't meet outside ;).

December = lots of parties, starting with the Ward Christmas Party! Good food, good company (we sat with the Silvas and our table boasted all but two of us spilling our water at some point hahaha) and good entertainment - Bishop read out loud to all the kids and members of the ward choir did some caroling.
Aaaand Santa was there! The kids... and okay, mostly me... were done by that point but I think we're mostly hiding it in our family picture, right ? ;) And clearly Chuck came straight from work which is why he was excused from wearing a Christmas shirt :).

The Swensons hosted all the Bishopric families one night and the only pictures I took were of Chuck corrupting Cameron, aka teaching him some trick where you have quarters on your elbow and then catch them before they hit the floor. I think Cam started with pennies but he was doing pretty well by the time we left!
We hit up the elementary school for the sing-along, which Jack loved and Carma refused to sit still for.  Also how cute are those little chalkboard ornaments the boys made for their teachers? That was a Jana Izatt original idea, fyi. Feel free to pin ;).

Girls' night! Shari's for pie shakes and then Emily's for pictures... like fifty. K wasn't messing around, thanks buddy!
And please enjoy the reindeer on my shoulder - we were testing out mascots! Little did we know at the time that a little doll named Lloydia was waiting for us on a McCall thrift store shelf to serve that very purpose...

Ward temple night was just me solo this month, we had sick kids and our go-to nanny (aka Grandma Pam) was busy so Chuck stayed home.
December was my last month with this group for Sunday School - I fit in an 'adventure' with Tiffany (bottom right) and Braenna and Kiki helpfully took some candid shots during a lesson one day, including me searching my Mary Poppins bag for... pens? the lesson? my phone? Who knows. The group shot of us was after a really beautiful testimony meeting - we slipped back into the chapel during class (Bishop raised his eyebrows but helpfully closed the doors for us haha) and those who wanted to were able to stand at the pulpit and share their testimonies with the rest of us. It was a privilege to hear from these kids' hearts.

Another privilege was getting to be a small part of Justus Kirkendall's life and witnessing his parents' faith and grace as they said a tender 'goodbye for now' to their sweet boy. Emily and K both spoke at his funeral service and even as we all sobbed through their words, I was so struck with their unwavering knowledge that Justus is waiting for them and although their time together was short in this setting, they have been promised unlimited time together as an eternal family.
(also, can we just appreciate how CUTE Justus is? I love the top right picture because of that smile and the bottom right picture because of how clear it is that he's a Kirkendall - such a sweet and perfect resemblance to Bailey and Alayna!)

A few hours after Justus passed away, the First Presidency Christmas Devotional was broadcast. Each of the four speakers gave incredible counsel and words of comfort and hope and peace.

 Elder Clayton: Because of the Savior born two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, there is hope—and so much more. There is redemption, release, victory, and triumph. “The wrong shall fail, the right prevail” (“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” Hymns, no. 214). No wonder a choir of angels suddenly appeared as a heavenly exclamation point to the angel’s announcement of the Savior’s birth, singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” No message could ever be more reassuring. No message was ever filled with more good will toward men.

Sister BurtonThere was a special spirit that hovered over our home that year, blessing us with peace and love for one another that I will never forget. It felt to me as if our children were given an exceptional sense of the sacred that Christmas... we seemed to more keenly feel spiritual impressions as we pondered and gave thanks for the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for our Heavenly Father’s glorious plan of salvation.

Elder Bednar: In every season of our lives, in all of the circumstances we may encounter, and in each challenge we may face, Jesus Christ is the light that dispels fear, provides assurance and direction, and engenders enduring peace and joy.

 President Uchtdorf: Isn’t that the message of Christmas? Even when the world may appear quite dark—when things aren’t going right, when our hearts are overflowing with disappointment and worry, even in the midst of sadness and sorrow—we sing about “joy to the world” and “good will toward men”2 because of Christ, who came “to give light to them that sit in darkness.”

1 comment:

Ben and Courtney Hugo said...

MOSTLY, CONGRATS ON FINISHING 2015! And I love all those quotes you ended with- a good reminder of what they said 5 months ago.