I'm always telling my friend and neighbor who shares my back fence that I "prayed her here." Right before Camille was born I knew that I wanted and needed a break from teaching piano, but I just couldn't pull the trigger because I couldn't find anywhere else for them to go! Every teacher I asked was full with a waiting list. Finally it had to be done and I said a very tearful goodbye to my students. A month or two later I got a FB message from a really cool girl who said she was moving to our neighborhood and heard I taught piano. She was looking for students and the rest is history. :) It was also nice to have her to take the pressure off when someone needed a pianist (for a while I was almost the only one). But now we are very lucky to have lots of pianists in the ward. Anyway, she has a VERY booming business and is kind enough to let my kids play in her recitals from time to time. No real recitals is probably the hardest part about teaching my own kids. But I love just about everything else. In fact, I love it tons more than I was expecting to, challenges and all.
She and I even played a Christmas duet song for them which was exciting for both of us because the difficulty required us to put some actual practice time in. How cool is it to have Queen Elsa at your winter recital? :)
Bryce and his bff Taylor just doing what they do best.
Camille in my old dress that my Grandma Oldham made for me. Looks like these pictures were taken AFTER church....
Here are the kids helping us stuff our neighbor gifts. They were little bags of assorted candy with the story that Sister Oscarson told at the Christmas devotional attached.
This was a classroom spirit week right before Christmas break. Blech, this is why you don't blog 8 months after the fact - I can't remember what the theme was on this particular day. (Something wintery?)
And here is her Cindy-Lou-Who hair for Grinch day.
And here is Gabe's bff Tanner just doing what they do best.
This was Brynn's birthday. It was on a Sunday and not super eventful, but the day before sure was! I will post the pictures from her party as soon as I can find them.
Yes, my house usually looks like a hurricane hit it on Sundays. Especially back then when I had three callings that made me a bit of a stress case on Sundays. And I have to admit - I do not miss the days when I'd have to have all of my kids to church by 7:40 (alone because Marty was at meetings), play organ, go strait from postlude and get to nursery late, and then lead choir practice.
One night we had "dinner theater." Three guesses who wrote, directed, and starred in the production. I love that she does these things though, she gets the boys involved and they always end up loving it.
This was such a simple but special moment in our family! Camille loves each and every one of her siblings - but she has always preferred the boys' toys. That is perfectly fine with me, but Brynn really looked forward to playing girly things with her new sister. Seriously, princess stuff angers Camille (with the exception of Frozen). Camille shares a room with Brynn and has access to her big, lovely dollhouse - but always slips away to the boys' room to play with Radiator Springs. Anyway, Brynn's good friend Mercy gave her this little Chelsea dream house for her birthday and Camille hopped up on the stool to play with Brynn. Brynn was SO excited.
And here is the Radiator Springs I mentioned. Best. Christmas gift. Ever. It has been played with every single day since we got it. More often by Gabe, and sometimes for hours at night in his room after Bryce has fallen asleep.
Many years we will go to UT a day or two after Christmas, but we usually aren't up there for the actual day (it's always wonderful, but a logistical nightmare). This year we decided we wanted to be up there for Christmas because my parents wanted one last Christmas with all their kids in their house before they moved. So many things about it really were so magical. It snowed on Christmas day and was beautiful (although stressful for us Arizonans to drive in). Santa found the kids and they were able to spend time with the Alaskans. And my mom just has a talent for setting the Christmas scene (decorations, food, music, all of it is just beautiful).
I was always a winter wimp, but now that I have acclimated to AZ I don't know how I ever lived in UT. I think I only went and played with my kids in the snow one time that trip, it is just miserable to me. So I brought the snow inside and it was perfect for Brynn's new Frozen figurines. That girl still loves her figurines! And surprise, surprise, the little's were just using the toys as scoops to eat snow.
And here is the snow cave that crazy, crazy Marty built...
and got the kids to sleep in!!! The whole thing made me very nervous all night. But hey, now the kids can say they have slept in a snow cave (I would rather die).
This funny picture was taken at Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's house.
I'm really not surprised at all to see Brynn sprawled out across Gabe. She is the worst kid to sleep with! Legs kicking like crazy, rolling back and forth, arms and legs spread out in every direction. For the record, Bryce sleeps like a rock and never moves until he wakes up in the morning, and Gabe quietly nestles in to sleep. But oh Brynnie-Pie - we love you AND your silly sleep habits!!
Camille was quite an escape artist. She would sneak off the the edge of the rink and, thinking she was very stealthy, put one toe in, then her foot, and just as she was about to run out there and get creamed by the rollerskaters we would grab her and take her back. SO Camille.
This was a sweet message left by one of Marty's brothers who is very angry with us about "stealing" the other brother and bringing him to AZ with us.
Remember how I said Christmas in UT is a logistical nightmare? That was compounded by the fact that this was our last car trip to UT before my parents moved and there were a lot of things we needed to bring home with us before they sold it. Marty always told his parents that playing hours of Tetris was worthwhile - I guess his ability to get all of this in our van proves it. The poor guy had to do a lot of it on his own because I had just had surgery (I don't trust anyone but my awesome docs in UT to work on my hemangioma).
The "winters" are so sweet together - they are the types to really catch the magic of Christmas.