IMG_5356Mark went big on the lights around the house this year.  Jafta went big on trying to visit the ER. IMG_5194 The kids got to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Knott’s Berry Farm.  Thanks to this and online shopping, I avoided the mall completely for the months of November and December.
IMG_5122    IMG_5120 India was so excited to see The Nutcracker again this year.  She even asked for her own nutcracker as her main Christmas gift.  I love that this is our new tradition.  Though I still maintain that the storyline makes no sense and was written with the aid of hallucinogenic drugs.  Seriously, what is with the rats? IMG_5118We didn’t travel to visit my family this year, so present had to be shipped.  My table looked like a shipping center for most of the month. DSC_6235 IMG_5350 Some of our best holiday moments were nights were we just sat by the fire and sang together.  It was a really busy season, but it seems like the unscheduled moments were the most precious. IMG_5164 We got to see some friends perform in the Christmas Together tour this year.  These albums were my favorite holiday music this season by far. IMG_5150 Kembe was a wise man in his school Christmas program.  He wasn’t so thrilled with the costume.  The girls, on the other hand, were SO jealous of his “princess dress”. DSC_6316 On Christmas Eve we followed our tradition of ten years having breakfast with some dear friends.  This is one of our favorite holiday traditions, and the kids all look forward to it as much as we do. DSC_6322  DSC_6328                 DSC_6359 (eight years and five kids prior): image After our breakfast, we went to the early Christmas Eve service at our church. IMG_5232   IMG_5221 Gingbread house decorating with a toddler . . . maybe not the best idea.  Karis could NOT understand why we were putting candy on a house and not in her mouth.  IMG_5235 After the kids went down, Mark and I got to wrapping.  Thanks to their grandma in Florida, there was a whole lot of excitement under the tree. DSC_6395DSC_6404DSC_6416  DSC_6417 India was really thrilled with her My  Twin dolls.  The boys were most excited about the whole punch that makes guitar picks out of credit cards.   Goodbye, Citibank! IMG_5239  IMG_5242 The big gift was a skateboarding ramp for the boys.  Thanks, Mimi! IMG_5249 After we opened the gifts at home, we went over to grandma and grandpa’s.  IMG_5261 Jafta and Kipp have a serious discussion about the roller coasters at Knott’s Berry Farm. IMG_5268 The day after Christmas, I let the kids dive into the gingerbread house.  I’m not really sure why I made them wait two days, beyond it just seeming wrong to eat it immediately after decorating. Also, if it looks like Karis never wears a shirt, it’s because SHE NEVER WEARS A SHIRT. I’ve given up and will re-address it closer to puberty.  Shortly after this photo, Jafta decided to try his yellow-belt skills on the house and karate chopped the thing into oblivion.  There was a lot of screaming about that, until I reminded them that it was still edible. And then they just kept on eating. IMG_5330 Favorite holiday-inspired game: Nativity Scene. Karis is usually baby Jesus.  I think the sponge represents Frankincense   IMG_5375 Jafta was also excited about another holiday tradition: having a pie thrown in his face.  IMG_5379 On the morning of New Year’s Eve, I had a little “treat yo-self” moment and had my hair done at The Drybar.  They served me a mimosa and had Mean Girls on the big screen while I had my hair done.  I think this will be a new tradition for me. IMG_5478IMG_5455                     We spent the afternoon and early evening at my inlaws, who graciously watched the kids for us so we could go to dinner with my brother and sister-in-law. They live in Seattle and it was so nice to catch up.  I’m happy to report that after my last post, I kept my expectations in check and was quite fine heading home early and watching the revelers on t.v. from the comfort of my living room. IMG_5469 IMG_5471 We spent New Year’s Day with family, and I was able to preform my best party trick I learned at Camp Mighty: I sabered open a bottle of champagne with my father-in-law’s Marine Corp sword.  Like a boss.  My kids think I am the coolest mom ever.  At least this week. image  

Here’s to a great 2012!