Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Day In Our Life

 I did a post like this here and I just saw it on another blog, and thought it would be fun to see the difference between my day back then with a newborn, and my typical day now. And after reading about a day with a newborn...I'm a little nervous about July! haha

Typical Day in the Haws Household:

430am: Sterling wakes up and leaves (I am usually hiding my head under a pillow to not hear him, especially because some mornings his alarm goes off at 430 and then he resets it for 5 and for some reason I cannot fall back asleep and then I'm really annoyed haha.)

5-6am: Molly wakes up and comes into our room. Or, like this morning, I hear noises in the kitchen and she is standing up getting into the spice cabinet and trying to pour out the sprinkles. On Sunday she had found the cupcake holders and had pulled out grapes and put about four grapes in each container covering the entire cupboard. A few days before that she had eaten a huge chunk out of the angel food cake sitting there. SOOOO after figuring out what she is up to, I strap her into an extra carseat we have in Sterling's study. She often falls back asleep for an hour, or sings to herself. She doesn't cry, so I can fall back asleep.

7-730am: Ruth and Will wake up and I get out of bed and set Molly free, haha. Everyone can get dressed own their own, I change Molly's diaper, but that is all. They all make their beds, say their prayers, and sit up to the table. Lately, due to morning sickness, we have cereal, or bagels, or toast with yogurt.

7:45am: After getting everyone settled at the breakfast table, I usually read them our morning scripture and then take five minutes to throw on make-up and clothes while they are occupied. Then I sit down and finish eating with them.

8am: Do Ruth's hair and Molly's hair and grab shoes for everyone, Ruth's back pack, wipe down the table, etc.

815am: Out the door to take Ruth to school. We pick up a little girl on our way.

9am: Drop off Ruth and Quinn at school.

9-10am: Today was Tuesday and we always have playgroup at 10am. So I usually plan to have errands to run for that hour so I don't have to go back home. Today we dropped off a return at the post office and then went to the Tmobile store to switch our phones from Verizon. We finished at about 1015.

10am: playgroup/park. Almost every day we are outside at this time. That is the beauty of Miami winter. 75 degree sunshine just warms my soul. If we don't have playgroup I often just head home and meet up at our complex park at 930am with my friend Tricia. Or we go to the zoo. The un-heated pools are too cold right now. Molly and Will also play REALLY well together lately with the Little People toys and they set up whole villages in the living room with their Schleich animals and have adorable little pretend play.

noon: head home for lunch. Ruth gets dropped off at around 12:25 so depending on how ornery my kids are (today-very) we might already have eaten and Will and Molly are already asleep. Or, more usually, we wait for Ruthie and eat together and then Will and Molly go down for naps. Molly only sleeps for an hour but Will usually sleeps for two and often three.

12-2pm: This is the catch-all time of day. For the past two months with heavy morning sickness, this is when I lay on the couch and sleep and ignore everything. Since I have been feeling better, I have not been taking naps as often and usually this is clean-up time. I do all the morning and lunch dishes, wipe down the kitchen, pay bills, check emails. Today I spent 41 minutes on the phone with Verizon paying off our bill and canceling our service. I also scheduled an eye appointment for me and a drs appointment for Will and 4 yr old pictures for Will. I might work on my calling. Ruthie is amazing and self-occupies during this time. Especially when I'm napping and ornery haha. We have some fun kindergarten apps on the kindle she likes to play, she might get a tv show if I'm feeling nice (we are trying to do almost zero tv time lately), but most often she colors or listens to audio books while coloring. She likes to wipe down the bathroom counters and mirrors. Oh--Ruth also has a homework packet to complete throughout the week that she LOVES to work on during this time. It's mostly coloring and letter/number tracing.

2-5pm: On Wednesdays and Thursdays this is when I teach piano. So I usually pull Will out of bed and throw him in the van on Wednesdays and then they have the time of their life playing at Sis. Hadleys. And on Thursdays we try to be as quiet as possible so that the kids sleep while I teach at home. Other days I take the kids grocery shopping (although I have to say this is usually done during our morning park time, so I don't have to take all three. I also schedule OB appointments and things in the morning, so it's very rare that we are actually outside at the park five mornings in a row.) or run an errand, or we head out to the park again with Ruthie. Also, you have to fit in laundry, cleaning, vacuuming, laundry, cooking--so that all gets thrown in there. If we are just home the kids play together really well. Usually not Little People (probably because Ruth is home in the afternoon), but often dress up and House and things like that. Picnics of pizza in the living room (all pretend), or story time for their animals. It's pretty fun. They all play pretend really well now and they plan it all out--I love to hear them!

5pm: dinner. Sterling is rarely there. He usually is out "early" 1-2 days a week, which means he can come home and study here until dinner time and then he comes out to eat with us. The rest of the time he finishes at 4pm. That means that if he left the school it would take two hours to get home because it is rush hour traffic. So he just stays on campus and studies until 7pm when traffic has died down. It's a treat to have him a couple of nights each week when he can make it! Yesterday he took a test which meant he was finished at 1pm and he headed home and he did all the dishes (two days worth since I had been sick and puking...again) while I cleaned up our cluttered room that has been driving me crazy. Then he watched the kids while I did grocery shopping and they had a marvelous time--and then he grilled for dinner and played basketball in the backyard with Will while grilling. It is SOOOO wonderful to have daddy home! On Monday nights he often makes a big effort to be home and we have been putting a big emphasis on FHE. The kids are at this perfect stage where they are SO excited about it, they love picking songs and stories and activities and treats. So yesterday we played checkers and Enchanted Forest before sending them to bed. During dinner we also do happys/sads which the kids love-especially Will lately.

6pm: dinner is over. Kids wash hands and get into pjs and pick out books and play while I do dishes. (or head to the tub every other night)

630-7pm: read books, read scriptures, family prayer, sing songs, put kids in bed.

7-830pm: kids come out five bazillion times asking nonsense questions and getting sent back to bed. Yesterday Ruth ended up in our bed, Molly in the study, and Will in his own bed. They finally fell asleep that way at 830. Usually they just chat and then fall asleep in their room, but for about two weeks now they have been in this horrible stage of not sleeping. It's making me consider taking out afternoon naps but that would also be brutal.

830-10pm: I usually fold laundry, finish cleaning up the dinner dishes, or read, or watch a tv show. I have been very unproductive during that time lately because I just lay on the couch and often fall asleep. Lately, I've been feeling better and I usually have some things to do--work on my calling, or for the past few days making sure all my photos were on my hard drive. Sterling usually comes to bed at 1030pm with me, (to get up at 430 to go study) unless its the week before a test, and then all bets are off. So I do things like read a library book until 1230 waiting up for him, only to die of exhaustion the next day. Oops. I also usually shower at night because for some reason this pregnancy blow-drying my hair makes me light-headed. So I shower at night instead so I don't have to deal with it in the morning.

And thats a wrap. On our horribly exciting average day!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Recital + Knaus Berry Farm

Ruth had a ballet recital! She took lessons on Friday afternoon for six weeks from an awesome girl in our ward--another med student wife, Janessa- and she absolutely LOVED it! They were supposed to have a Christmas recital but with sicknesses, finals, plane dates, etc. it got pushed off. It was still sooooo adorable though!

She did such a good job! And she looked sooooo happy! I love her soo much!

For Martin Luther King day we headed to Knaus Berry Farm. The list of things to see in Miami before we move is getting smaller, as is the amount of time Sterling has to devote to anything outside of school. So we hit it up at 830am and he was studying by 11am--and studied the rest of the day. The cinnamon rolls are absolutely RAVED about here, people stand in line for hours! Luckily, we only stood in line for ten minutes, and our consensus? They taste very, very similar to my mom's. Which--are phenomenal, but I guess we'd rather just make them at home than stand in line for two hours, haha. They are homemade, fresh, and HOT--which was very, very delicious. 

After our delicious breakfast, we headed to the strawberry fields. The kids had so much fun--it was like a treasure hunt! Who could find the biggest, reddest, best big strawberry? Haha. At first it was a little tricky finding really good ones, but then they opened up the field next door to people and it was LOADED. We ended up racing the kids out so that they would STOP PICKING haha. You got to eat as you picked and I'm pretty sure Molly ate her weight before leaving, which was good, because then we didn't have to pay for it! One guy in the line behind us remarked as they were weighing our strawberries that it was a good thing they didn't weigh US before and after! Haha. 

 The kids loved it, and it was such a great activity to get outside of the city of Miami and enjoy the beautiful 75 degree weather we've been having. (today at the park it was over 80 and I was so hot and thinking...are we here already summer? oh yeah, we are, because this is Miami.)

A baby bump picture that may be a LITTLE bigger than normal due to the three pieces of angel food cake smothered in whipped cream and fresh strawberries that I ate right before, hahaa. Definitely not fitting my jeans anymore though! 16 weeks with baby boy Benjamin, or Tobin, or Silas, or Tucker, or Ira, or Levi. Who knows at this point.

Today after a hot day at the park (we played for a LONG time because I didn't take Ruth to school because Sterling's car had a flat so he took the van and I didn't want to worry about trying to find her a ride. We're just going to have a long weekend, haha.) we had strawberry shakes--the perfect way to cool off. Molly was hilarious, she 'lubs' shakes!

Other than that, it's been a pretty slow week. Sterling is studying like crazy for a test on Monday, which means that he hasn't been home for dinner or bedtime in....forever. I made dinner on Wednesday even though he wasn't there AND I taught piano lessons all afternoon (both of those things seem to conspire against dinner). Also--some of my piano students are driving me CRAZY lately. I just can't sit there for half an hour and listen to you pretend to play things you obviously haven't practiced and listen to the agony...I must be pregnant and ornery. But I'd almost just rather they stay home! On a happier note, due to Sterling's flat tire, we had to traverse Miami traffic during high traffic evening time. It was horrible. And because it took so long, I was starving, and we stopped to grab burgers at Shula burger. Best. Decision. Ever. If you are ever anywhere where they have those---you MUST eat it. They also had rootbeer. Nowhere in Miami has rootbeer. It made my whole life! Haha. I was trying to compare it to somewhere in Utah and I said Warren's and Sterling was like-no, waaaaay better than Warren's (which had my favorite mushroom and swiss). I have to agree. It's top of the charts of any burger I have ever tasted. We know where our next date night will be! (I want to taste their deep fried brownie and Sterling wants to try their jalapeno burger next time.)

We also had an appointment this week and both Will and Molly are under 3rd percentile for weight, and they encouraged us to give them Ensure?!?!?!?! It makes me want to go pull out all the pictures of me as a child where I look...skeletal, and just prove that it is all genetics and they are just fine. I don't think I filled out until 9th grade or so. Also Will grew two inches in four months, which means he used up all his fat to get tall in a really short amount of time! haahaa. I'm not too worried. That boy can pack it in (when he wants to, he happens to be quite picky lately. But give him cereal, sandwiches, or chips and cheese and he will sit at the table forever.) and Molly always eats so much that it surprises me, so I think we're ok. Haha. We already drink whole milk, serve real whipping cream over desserts, have real butter on all their toasts/sandwiches, etc., and heap the cream cheese on their bagels and the gravy on their potatoes. So they are definitely getting their fat. Haha.

And that's our pretty boring and typical January!

Friday, January 13, 2017

iPhone Dump

I really don't like uploading phone pictures. They always go to weird places, I really need to get more familiar with icloud (I know, I'm so behind) and I just want to cry a little bit about photo quality without my camera. Sigh. Luckily, I have the best husband ever and even though we are in med school he labeled it in our finances as a 'necessity' because, he said, it was stolen, so it is something we already had and needed. Love him.  So in backwards order and no further ado:
I did not take this. I was playing the organ. Which means...we have THREE children unattended during the songs. This happens every other week when I play the organ. Sterling used to find a sub more often to lead, but they just had a brand new baby, so they are much more unavailable now. He decided that it would be better to just take Molly up with him because during the previous song she had tried to run up to me at the organ. Then she led the singing through the entire song---right in Sterling's face, baahaahaa. Molly, we adore you, you little troublemaker! And thanks to my friend for taking the picture. It makes me look back with fondness instead of remembering the craziness that was that day.

Ruth either wants her hair down or in a pony tail every day. I can't stand it either way. A pony tail is usually fallen out and has whispies all around her face in about an hour. Her hair is TOO long to have down--it's in her food at the table, etc. So I looked through a bunch of pins and instagram accounts with her one day to get her excited about having her hair done 'princess' ways. And...then I haven't allotted enough time to doing it in our morning routine (why does she hate french braids so much?!?! they are so FAST!) and it has yet to happen for school. Haahaa.

Will's egg men. I LOOOOOVE this stage of drawing. Ruth used to draw people just like this. This was for FHE, it was a family. He was SOOOO proud of their teeth, it was hilarious.

Here's Will's and Ruthie's and Molly's is the turquoise. Ruthie drew a little baby on me (the purple haired one) isn't it soooo cute?

Will tucking in his 'babies'. His Spiderman is a barbie or a baby, depending on what game Ruthie and him are playing, haha.

At my OB appointment, in the waiting room, these two were looking through magazines and Will thought it was SOOOO hilarious that there were baby's bums. They had the giggles so hard. It was hysterical.
Sterling hid my mom's chocolates from Molly. But then I couldn't reach them either. See that white box at the very, very top? HAAHAA

 Before Sterling started school at the first of January, we hit up the zoo. I knew it would be insanely busy because school was still out, but we had to take daddy to see the new Everglades exhibit! None of us had been yet, but we had heard such good things! It did not disappoint---sooo much fun!

Sliding through the otter exhibit. They were swimming right around her!

If you look closely, that is Will running through the tunnel. In the middle of the crocodile exhibit. There is a crocodile between me and my son. It is intense!

There is a new bear exhibit, and they were sitting RIGHT THERE. It was really cool.

You can walk over top of the alligators. This is the first time I have ever seen Molly scared in her entire existence. She would not walk over the alligators. Smart, smart girl Miss Molly. (it does feel pretty unstable)

She went out this far, and no further.

Glorious Florida and your 75 degree winter days. I love you. And the sun. Oh how I love the sun.

Christmas presents! They were them every single day.

This boy is a SUNBEAM!!!! I can't believe it myself! He was so, so, so excited to go to Sunbeams because Ruth's teacher gives her these wonderful treats every single week (we're talking cupcakes). Unfortunately, no one showed to teach his class the first week, and the second week the teacher did not bring treats. I almost want to bring some for him just because he has been looking forward to it for so long! He's been doing great though. He only comes up to me a few times, and when I taught Sharing Time he stood by me for a few minutes before sitting back down. He's so good!

The sidewalk to the lake in our apartment has finally dried up! It has been it's own mini-lake since the summer rains. So we've had some lovely Sunday walks out there, and this time we saw two little turtles swimming around and the kids loved it.

Another zoo day!

Other than that, this week I've been feeling a bit better. I'm still taking anti-nausea prescription meds so I can't say too much (last monday when I ran out was a sick day the likes of which I do not want to repeat) but I've only thrown up about three times in the last week. So progress! Other than that it's been a week of OB appointments, eye appointments, going through the kids drawers to get rid of everything that doesn't fit (I swear Molly just grew five inches over night, but still nothing stays up around her waist...dresses it is.)  and trying to stay on top of laundry in the midst of piano lessons. Today my goal was to mop the floor. We might make that goal yet, haha. But we did have a lovely morning at the park--the weather has been absolutely GORGEOUS lately! That's all!

Friday, January 6, 2017

2017 New Year Word-Love

Last year my New Years Resolution word was 'fundamentals'. I was still reeling from Molly being such a colicky baby and struggling to manage our horrible little apartment. It was a good word to focus on last year and I know we made some progress with that. We have been really good now at having a regular Family Home Evening on Monday nights (even though we usually just hold up a picture and read the scripture story on the back. It is still habit!). We have worked really hard at reading the scriptures every single night with the kids and having family prayer. The kids have really good habits of praying on their own every morning after making their beds...and we're still working on nightly individual prayers. I don't know why that is so hard for me to remind them to do! We usually have a family game and/or walk every single Sunday. We read a scripture every morning at the breakfast table. We say our happy's/sad's each evening at dinner. Those are fundamentals that were harder to get down with three babies, but my kids are all old enough now and they definitely know the routine. It's been really nice to solidify all of that in our home. (the quote from last year was Linda S. Reeves saying all we really need to have accomplished in our homes is daily scripture study and prayer and weekly FHE.)

This year it has been hard for me to pin down exactly what I want my focus to be. I REALLY want to focus on myself spiritually. In big ways like dedicated hours of time to reading books and marking them up and being a real student. But lets be real--while I might find time once or twice to be able to do that, this is what my 2017 looks like:
Sterling finishing up his final semester of book work (that he has to do really well on, so I'm pretty much on solo dinner and bedtime routine for the next four months) which ends with two months of studying for Step 1 (boards) which he has to pass to continue on in medical school. After that intense time of studying, plus lots of money going towards that test and study materials, we will be moving, having a baby (right now scheduled in the same week!?!?! I promise we didn't schedule that. I had planned to have this baby MUCH sooner, but the Lord has it all under control, right?), Sterling starts medical school rotations immediately after (just pray that we can get a day off so he can help us move!), Ruthie starts Kindergarten, Will is probably going to start Pre-K, and I will have a brand new baby that is HOPEFULLY much less colicky and much more sleepy than the last baby we've had around these parts, in a brand new place.  Don't even ask me how a 9 month pregnant lady is going to pack up our house. Although, I'm more worried about a postpartum one having to unpack it. And then life revolves around whichever rotation Sterling is in at the time. 

Which means there is a lot of me, managing a lot, and who knows what kind of schedule. Which makes it tricky to set a specific goal, cause it could be all upended very soon.

And...that is why this post is taking me so long. To sum it all up, I've thought quite a bit, and the word for 2017 is going to be:

Why? Because I have been sick and ornery for the past two months and tonight I was feeling a little bit better and I looked around at my kids and realized I have not been hugging nearly as much, or loving on them nearly as much, or giggling with them nearly as much as I need to be. And the whole reason I'm doing all of this is because I love it so much. I love them so much. I love my family so much. A few days ago at the breakfast table Sterling read our scripture from Thomas S. Monson's book  A Future As Bright As Your Faith (yes, we read it last year, and we just decided to keep going and do it again this year) and Pres. Monson stated "Four pledges for the new year: I will listen, I will learn, I will labor, I will love. As we fulfill these pledges, we can have the guidance of our Heavenly Father and in our own lives experience true joy."

Sterling and I kind of took that as our mantra for the year. While I am obviously hoping to work towards all the good things that we always want in our life: being healthier, sleeping more, doing more scrapbooking or memory keeping, having patience with my children, doing meaningful things with my time, keeping up with my calling, being prepared and on time with my children, keeping a neat and orderly home, having FHE.....ALL THE GOOD THINGS. I'm going to keep my word simple and just say love. I want my kids to know, at the end of the day, that our house is full of love. 

That breaks down to- I'll try to study a few more parenting books on coping with ENDLESS whining (I'm not joking. I've got a boy who doesn't know how to talk except in Whinese.), read my scriptures EVERY DAY to try to make sure I have the spirit with me, and try to remember to bring up all the good things the kids have done before they go to bed at night so they know that their mom loved all their hard work that day. And sing more. And hug more. Especially the whiney ones. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pregnancy Problems

When you hope that you are having a boy because the only boy you've had you weren't nearly as sick for. #fail

When you hope that you aren't sick after the first trimester because every pregnancy is different, right? #fail

When you put all your spices into a 2 gallon sealed bucket in the third bedroom because the stench is making you gag so hard that you can't wash the dishes. Normally I don't even think my spice cupboard has a smell?!!?

When you order a tropichop for yourself at Pollo (worlds best Cuban fast food) because you are probably going to be sick if you don't eat immediately (food planning #fail) and actually eat your kids chicken tortilla on the way home instead because it is easier to hold and eat while driving. #momfail

When you convince yourself you aren't really that sick and make dinner and just when you sit down to eat, you go throw up. #fail

Throwing up so much that you can't breathe in-between times and it goes up your nose and makes you gag and throw up even harder for quite some time. #fail

Feeling good and maybe I should actually blow dry my hair this morning? But then the heat makes me feel like passing out for the next two hours. #fail

Only wanting to eat fresh food, but the fresh food gets eaten so fast (I ate an entire 1 lb bag of carrots yesterday...by myself) that you keep running out but don't have the energy to take all the kids to the store to get more. So then you get more sick for not eating because nothing else sounds good. #fail

When you know the difference between a gag that will actually result in eventual throwing up and a gag that just helped calm the stomach. And you try to describe it to your husband by telling him how watery your mouth is. #fail

I never like chocolate during my pregnancies, it's like my own body is betraying me. But milk duds ALWAYS sound good. Even though I throw them up, every time. Still worth it?!!?

Sterling doesn't understand how something can taste good in my mouth and look delicious, but I know it will make me throw up. It's a real thing, trust me.

I could keep going, but I'll stop.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year! From the Haws'

Happy 2017!

Our family has had a busy, somewhat stressful (that med school!), and wonderful 2016. In January our friends the Anderson's came from Utah to visit so the kids and I got to spend some time with them in Orlando, and then here in Miami doing ALL the touristy things! In February, Sterling and I were lucky enough to get a night away from our kids and headed up to Tampa for a conference. It was wonderful and something I wish we could fit in so much more often! Tampa is gorgeous! March was full of fun activities and we tried to soak up the cooler weather-we went biking in the Everglades a few times. I also delved into gluten free baking in an effort to help Sterling (gluten free did help) but after several months of that (hats off to all of you who have to live with that forever! It is quite an adjustment!) we found out that he has a chronic condition and if he takes a medication every morning, he is totally fine. So yay for easier cooking around here now! In April and May we were back at the pool with a gusto and over Memorial Day we headed to the gulf side of Florida and visited Marco Island. It was sooo beautiful and heavenly. In June we moved and said goodbye to our HORRIBLE landlord and experience with that apartment. We have never made a better decision-we love our new apartment with all our hearts and can't believe we have to leave it this year! Sterling was able to come with us to Utah in July for a quick minute, and then headed back to start school. Luckily, I picked up some sub jobs and we were able to stay in Utah for all of July and into August so that I could go to a conference and get all of my continuing education credits checked off. It was blissful. Hard to be apart from each other, but my kids still ask if they can go to grandma's house almost every single morning. They followed her to the garden and helped with the weeding and thinning and watering, they followed her around to feed the animals in the barn, they followed her to water the flowers, they loved the cats, being outside on their own (not so easy in our gated community in Miami), the trampoline, grandpa's horse rides, and of course-cousins! I am so glad we got to spend so much time there this year, it really cemented those memories for them, and of course I didn't mind being spoiled by garden vegetables and my mom's cooking one little bit! Not to mention having Sterling's family around to party at their cabin (my favorite week!) and treat me to afternoons with no kids and fun pool days! In August we headed home and Ruth started her first day of Pre-K (it's considered a grade here. I wanted her to have a half day experience before starting full day, so she gets to go from 9-12.) and she absolutely loves it. We had a few months of adjusting to the life of picking up and dropping off every day--and truncating our morning outings to fit that time schedule. In November, my sister's family and mom came and played with us in the Keys after visiting Orlando and it was so great to see them all! After that (or right before that) morning sickness hit hard, and we've been muddling through that ever since. We are having a:

and we couldn't be more excited! It has been such a great year for our family. What we thought were some pretty big trials at the beginning of the year have turned into wonderful blessings as Sterling stretched out his education one more year to accommodate our lives and that made it possible for us to move and catch our breath a little. Sterling is back at school today for another semester and I start second trimester with this baby (although throwing up today is a bad omen, right? My goal was no throw up in 2017 haha and it's already broken.). Ruth (5) is still ecstatic about school and her little ballet class. She is my biggest helper and a huge instigator of the elaborate pretend games that go on around here. Will (3 1/2) took basketball in the fall and loved it and can't wait to start again (someday). He is my snuggler and I love it. He is so excited to have a baby brother! Molly (2) is our baby and every time I look at her I can't believe she isn't a baby any more! She talks faster and climbs quicker than people twice her age and height and we definitely have to work hard to keep up with her! I am still teaching piano two days a week and the ward keeps us busy! We are loving our time here in the sunshine and I don't know what we will do when we can't have regular beach days! Hope that everyone has a wonderful 2017!

Family Reunion in July
Marco Island in May

Monday, January 2, 2017

More Christmas festivities!

I can't remember what happened on which day after Christmas. We left on Thursday morning, so between Monday and Wednesday we went swimming, Sterling went out shooting with the boys, the kids played outside, Kayli made egg rolls and crab rolls, we went to the Cathedral of Learning (I'll have to get pictures from Kayli--it was awesome!!!), we played a lot of games, and generally had a wonderful time.

Isn't that the perfect background to grow up with?

Molly was not a huge fan, but she held on!

Kayli climbed to the top. Haha

They started building a house next to Kayli's, and the tractors were a huge attraction.

Ethne got Pie Face for Christmas, and it was so hilarious! It was mostly hilarious because Ruth thought it was. She would laugh and laugh and laugh her head off at whoever was pied, and even herself! 

She often lost because the older kids were speedier than her, haha.
 All in all, it was a spectacular visit. I laughed so hard I gagged and ran to the toilet trying not to puke, but still laughing. Maybe only a pregnant, nauseous person can appreciate that? Kayli kept me well supplied with apples and other food to keep me from being nauseous--it was the best. She also kept us well supplied in toffee and other Christmas candy, which was also the best. The kids loved having cousins to occupy them all day long, and I loved hanging out with all our family! Thank you, Kayli for letting us come for Christmas! And for all the good food you made for us! (why did we not take a picture of us after church!??!?!) And our van didn't die--so all is well that ends well, right?