Saturday, January 23, 2016


December was a busy month with highs and lows.  Some of the highs: We had gorgeous, summer-like weather to enjoy most of the month. We had fun celebrating Dan's birthday early in the month, and then my parents moved to Virginia!    We've spent lots of time with my folks since they moved and they have joined us on our several of our visits to Williamsburg to hang out with the Jesters. It's been a dream come true to have close access to everyone!

Some of the lows: Emma has battled multiple ear infections and UTIs since we moved this summer, which has been hard on all of us.  Over the past few months, we have visited the doctor and urgent care more times than we have since she's been born.  We knew we probably needed to schedule ear tubes and another surgery to correct her urinary system, which has been abnormal since birth, but we wanted to wait until January so we could get a better health plan in 2016. Also, Dan's car has had some intermittent electronic troubles that none of the mechanics we know have been able to solve.  Both our cars are getting old and have lots of miles on them, but they are paid off, so we'd like to keep them running as long as possible.

Christmas was incredibly fun this year with almost our entire family living in the same area.  We really missed my brother Steve, his wife Sheila, and their daughter Meera, who were busy moving to the Boston area during Christmas week.  But we got to spent lots of time with the rest of our family and Emma was thrilled with absolutely everything about Christmas this year.  Two and a half is such a fun age! 

A picture of our typical December day, playing outside in a t-shirt and enjoying the beautiful weather.

We love kicking off the December festivities every year with Dan's birthday on December 1st!  We went to one of his favorite restaurants, Texas Roadhouse, for dinner that night to celebrate.  

Then Emma helped us decorate the Christmas tree

 She's gotten really creative recently and we love seeing her imagination at work. She was pretending to be Santa Claus, so she set up an empty box as her sleigh, and her favorite stuffed animals were her reindeer. 

We spent a fun afternoon in Williamsburg with my sister-in-law, Robin, and her daughters, Naomi and Miriam.  We went to the Yankee Candle store, which goes over the top with their Christmas decorations.  It was fun to see all the displays!

Emma and Naomi also had a blast playing in the blue sand box they have in the middle of the toy store.  

We attended the Williamsburg Christmas parade with all the Jesters. This was just about the only picture I took at the event, showing Dan's dad, Emma, and I watching the parade.

We've absolutely loved having my parents renting a townhouse 1.5 miles away from us! We are at each others' houses at least twice a week, we attend church together, and Emma loves going over to their house to play when Dan and I need a babysitter.

Emma's first preschool picture. Sniff!

Her 2.5 year old class. The photographer took individual photos of each child in front of a white screen, then cropped them and put them together in a class photo.  Pretty cool!

Another first for Emma - her first Christmas concert.  It did not go well. She wasn't the only 2-year-old who cried through her performance, but I'm pretty sure she wailed the loudest.

But afterwards, she got onstage by herself and gave us her loudest rendition of "Jingle Bells." Such a ham!

Christmas morning was awesome! We spent Christmas Eve at Dan's parents' house, so we set up our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree in the library and let her open her gifts from us as soon as she woke up. Then all the cousins came over and we had a present extravaganza with the Jester family before Christmas dinner. 

Later that week, we were able to meet our good friends from Denver, Mike and Kate, and their kids, Charlotte and Cameron.  We love reconnecting with them when they visit Mike's family in Virginia!

Another fun Christmastime tradition is to visit Christmas Town at Busch Gardens.  We joined my parents and Dan's parents there on New Year's Day and enjoyed seeing all their decorations and holiday shows. (A terrible photo, but it's the best one I got that night.)

 After we spent the afternoon at Busch Gardens, we joined the Jesters at a nice timeshare in Williamsburg on New Years night. The kids were enthralled with the big jacuzzi tub in the master suite.  They never actually took a bath in it, but the younger kids made it their fortress against the older kids. :)  The timeshare resort had an indoor pool and a playground, so it was a fun place to spend the weekend together.

And just like that, 2015 was over.  It's always exciting to me when we begin a new year. We pray that whatever this year brings, whether it's fun or challenging, we will grow in our trust in and love for God.