Tuesday, January 2, 2018

December - Christmas at Home

Aunt June joined us for Christmas Eve dinner, making and decorating cookies for Santa, and acting out the nativity.  June was an angel, I was a shepherd, Tad was Joseph, Alexa was Mary, and Tyler wanted to be a donkey.  Alexa rode into the living room on Tyler's back until he collapsed and she smashed him into the carpet, resulting in some mid-nativity tears.  Tad ran around like a crazy person.  As usual, it was very entertaining.  But wonderful to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and spend it together as a family.  It was soooo nice to wake up in our own house Christmas morning, the first time since we had kids!  I loved not having an agenda and just spending the day together as a family.

Alexa's favorite Christmas gifts included a dollhouse and a rainbow leopard beanie boo.  She asked Santa for an art set and a beanie boo.

Tyler was very excited about a bow and arrow and remote control car.  He picked out gifts for everyone in the family and was so cute and excited when anyone would open his gifts.  What a sweetheart.  Alexa gave him a Lego Batman set and he and Batman used the grappling hook to rescue people all over the house, my favorite was when I found Batman hanging from our ceiling fan using his grappling hook. Tyler asked Santa for a superhero action figure.

Tad has recently been obsessed with fish--he even draws pictures of fish all the time that are amazing for a 1 1/2 year old--so he got 2 little goldfish for Christmas.  At the time I'm writing this on January 2, one of them died today and we think it was probably because Tad fed the fish shredded cheese yesterday :(.  Also, he thought the camels in our nativity were dinosaurs so he had them fight each other and rawr.  He loves his baby Liam and wants to hold him all the time.  When he's not holding him, he goes wherever he's napping and tells us all "shhh!" because the baby is sleeping, as he tries to stroke his head in the bassinet.  He also wraps his stuffed animals in burp rags or blankets to swaddle them and pretends to feed them.

Liam is still cute and cuddly.  He is definitely our biggest baby with his chubby cheeks and endless rolls.  Also, he started to smile this month!

We got Christmas snow!  It wasn't much, but it was our first snow of the season and considering the weather the week before it was truly a Christmas miracle.  We had snowball fights, built snowmen, snow angels, played at the playground on swings and teeter totters, and did lots of sledding.  Our neighbor Daniel also gave us a huge snowman and the kids love him.  They say bye to "Frosty" every time we leave the house and Tad gives him hugs whenever we come home.

We went to a live nativity in Mona, Utah that was wonderful.  I hope to make it an annual tradition.  Young Living has a working farm and their employees all took on the roles of angels, wise men, shepherds, etc. to share the Nativity story.

We had a fun Swingle Christmas party and cool Aunt Peggy got all of the kids light-up Rudolph noses :).

Alexa's big news is that she got married last month!  Kyle and I weren't invited, but Tyler was there and so was the groom's 8 year-old sister, who married them and also encouraged the new bride and groom to kiss following the ceremony. I found out from the groom's grandmother that there was a wedding--she offered me her congratulations ;).  Here's the lucky boy, our neighborhood friend Tennyson.

November - Eating Homegrown Turkey

What an expensive month!  We paid for the delivery of our sweet new bundle, we upgraded to a minivan, a couple weeks later our washing machine kicked the bucket (which is being used frequently with a new baby!), then our furnace died.  We traded out the Mazda CX-9 for a 2016 Toyota Sienna.  We miss the amazing handling of the Mazda, but traded it out for easier access to the kids, back seat, and more storage space.  We strongly debated the 7-passenger with all wheel drive for our frequent road trips through the mountains vs. the 8-passenger for our growing family.  So much for our pledge to never own a minivan.  Sigh.  Good thing Liam is so cute, we happily cuddle him all day.

All the grandparents came to meet baby Liam this month.  We had a quick visit from Kyle's Dad when he came for Paul's mother's funeral, and Grandma Sweeny came straight from her cruise to stay with us the second week of November.  Marmie and Grandpa Swingle came up again for Jason Andrew's wedding, then a third time for Thanksgiving.  We keep telling them they should just move up here already ;).  Grandpa Sweeny came for a week before Thanksgiving, so we had all the grandparents here for Liam's baby blessing the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Here's the link to Liam's sweet blessing recorded by Grandpa Sweeny (blessing starts at 0:27).

I took 6 weeks off work and they were absolute bliss.  It was so nice to be home with all of the kids and to savor every cuddle with baby Liam.  I appreciated such little things like being able to drop Tyler off at preschool and be here when Alexa got home from school, help her with homework, etc.  I think I realized more with Liam how fast it goes and have less interest in setting him down to get things done.  I just want to snuggle him all day!  Steve, Thrive's CEO, threatened people if they tried to call me and was wonderful to take on so much while I was out.

I introduced Tyler to Battleship while I was on maternity leave and we've played several times while Alexa is at school and Tad is napping.

Alexa is the best big sister to her little brothers, constantly wanting to hold Liam and help take care of Tad.  She is a great helper.  She has had a couple of mishaps with the microwave this week, but gets an A for effort.  One was trying to make Kyle some chicken strips in the microwave because he was at Bishopric meetings and we polished off dinner, but she put a single strip in for 3 minutes and it was black and billowing smoke when she opened it in a panic.  She has also burned a few bottles for Tad when he was crying and she wanted to help calm him down.  Both of these examples were when she was trying to help without being asked ;).  She will take a bath with Tad so he's not alone and help scrub him and wash his hair, and she always wants to hold Liam when it's bath time or while I'm taking a shower.

Also, she pulled out her 4th tooth and wrote a really cute thank you note to the tooth fairy.  She refused to ask for help and sat in front of the bathroom mirror for a good 30 minutes wincing and pulling on her tooth until it came out.

We spent Thanksgiving at Sara's house eating their homegrown turkey!

Also, we Face Timed with Brendan and Whitney and it was adorable to watch Chase, Jeffrey, and Tyler talk about Pokemon forever via video.  They were all so excited.