We spent the morning of our New Year's Eve hiking up to the Palmer Lake Reservoir with our good friends, the Milners. Lucky for us the trail wasn't that icy so we were just fine without our trekkers on. We did take advantage of using our polls though. Once we reached one of the upper lakes we stopped so I could feed Madeline. Everyone decided it was a great time to eat lunch as well. The kids had fun playing on the frozen lake and at one point Peter tried to crack it with a huge rock. That wasn't very successful, thank goodness, because the lake was frozen pretty thick. After eating lunch we got our gear back and headed back down the trail because it was starting to get cold. It was so fun to be with good friends on this New Year's Eve morning.
At the beginning of this month Madeline weighed 9lbs 8oz. She is not big by any means but she is a happy little girl. I saw a big change in Madeline this month as she started to sleep 10hrs at night more consistently and was more alert during her waketimes. She typically goes to sleep @7:00-7:30 and gets up around 4:30-5:00am. The nice thing is that she will go back to sleep until 7:30am. As long as I don't let her get overtired she is usually a snap to put down for a nap. I just wrap her up, give her the pacifier, and play her crib music. I lay her down once I start to see that her eyes are getting tired. I end up holding her for only a minute before putting her in her crib. I am usually able to walk away even if she isn't totally asleep and she will fall asleep on her own. What a blessing that is for me.
Halfway through this month Madeline started to use her voice more and started cooing and chatting with us through so many fun noises. She loves it when we talk to her and she will respond with happy sounds. A few times we even got a giggle out of her by playing peekaboo or kissing her tummy or armpits. She loves to lay on her new playmat and look at all the fun little animals dangling above her. She will occasionally try to swing at the toys and grab them but most of the time it is by accident. We will occassionally put her on her tummy for tummy time but she doesn't last that way for longer than a few minutes. She does, however, love to sit up and loves it when we help her stand up. Her legs are still pretty weak but she can hold herself upright with our help for a few seconds at a time. Madeline has such a strong little neck which has made doing all these things a little less nerve racking. She loves all sorts of noises that we make with our mouths. She seems to like the clacking noise the best and loves it when her brothers snap their fingers. She calms down right away. At the very end of this month Madeline started to be able to grab her legs when getting her diaper changed. Now she is starting to grab her feet and toes as well and can hold onto them for a little bit. We do have to be careful around Madeline because she is quite the spitter. If we don't have a burp cloth or a bib handy she will tend to soak her shirts and our clothes with all sorts of wondeful spit up.
Madeline's hair is really starting to come in thicker now. It will still be awhile before we can do anything with it but it is fun to see it starting to grow. When the back of her hair gets wet little curls start to form. It is the cutest thing ever. Her long little fingernails seem to grow way too fast. I am finding myself having to trim them at least once a week. I usually remember when I see little scratch marks on her face. Poor girl. This has been the funest month so far with Madeline.
During the end of the month we noticed that Madeline was starting to suck on her fingers. She tends to favor her left hand and mostly her left thumb. It is very apparent that she has started the teething phase. We have introduced some teething toys but she still prefers her fingers and hands. She also has diaper rash more often with this new phase.
DECEMBER 3, 2016
The kids woke up to snow and although there wasn't enough snow to cancel school, the temperatures were cold enough for school to be cancelled. The kids were SO EXCITED that they didn't have to go to school today.
DECEMBER 6, 2016
With the excitement of our upcoming trip to Steamboat for our annual ski trip we have been stocking the weather app to see how much snow Steamboat is getting. I was so excited to see that the 10 day forecast showed snow every single day!
MIKE AND MADELINE
DECEMBER 17, 2016
Mike loves to have daddy time with Madeline. Tonight while he was on his phone he noticed that Madeline was interested in the bright lights from his phone. He had fun watching her follow the lights from his phone.
HOMEMADE LUNA BARS
DECEMBER 26, 2016
Mike found some great recipes to make homemade luna bars. Tonight for FHE he made three different kinds and had everyone try them to see which one they liked the best. I personally liked the simple apple one the best.
EARLY MORNING RUNNING
DECEMBER 27, 2016
As I was driving home from my early morning run with my club the sun was shining and I just had the most amazing feeling wash over me.
ROLLER SKATING WITH THE GIRLS
DECEMBER 29, 2016
The girls and I went roller skating one afternoon and had the best time together. Emma and Abby both brought their new skates and did remarkably well for not having had very much experience with skating. It was fun to just have some girl time together.
As the kids get older the more they sleep in on Christmas morning. I think I was the first person awake this year and that was only because I was up feeding the baby. We told the kids that we weren't going downstairs until after 7am. I think they all slept in until almost 8am. A little before 8am we gathered the kids on the stairs for our annual Christmas morning excitement photo. Since the boys are in the basement now we had to put blindfolds on them to bring them upstairs so they wouldn't see their Santa gifts. There is nothing quite like the surprised and happy faces when they see what Santa brought them. It doesn't matter if you are 15 or 8 years old...kids will always be kids. Christmas morning is such a fun time. The kids LOVED their Santa gifts this year. Abby got white roller skates with pink wheels, Emma got black and purple rollerblades, Peter got fighting drones, and Andrew got a longboard. Boy was I surprised when I went downstairs to take photos to find that someone had left a nice big present for me by the tree. Mike miraculously found me a brand new road bike that was just my size. One of the ladies he works with at the hospital bought the bike new and after a few rides decided she didn't really love road biking. Mike bargained with her and was able to get this $2000 bike for only a few hundred dollars. To say that I was surprised is an understatement.
This year Emma found the pickle ornament and so she got to open up the first present. Like every year, we ripped through all the presents in such a short time. Everyone loved their gifts. Madeline got a fun play mat from Santa and a cute plush elephant from mom and dad, some cute new clothes from Grandma Anne and Grandpa Franz, and a First Christmas sock monkey from Grandpa Al. Abby received a new coat, the Calico Critters School Treehouse, the Calico Critters elephant family, an American Girl Doll make your own scarf kit, new earbuds, fuzzy socks, a new drawing supplies. Abby also received a special gift from our Elves. She had written to them asking for a Black Apple Doll. The Elves put together a fun gift full of cute material and other things she would need to make her own Black Apple Doll. The Elves put in enough material for Emma and Madeline to have a doll. Emma received a new coat, a few books from the Whatever After Series, a 3D pen and filaments to go with it, earbuds, fuzzy socks, the Calico Critters panda family, and an art kit. Peter received some books from the Guardians of Gahoole series, a book set from Grandpa Al, a new lego set, earbuds, an iTunes gift card, . Andrew received a new blanket, shirts from American Eagle, a shirt and suspenders from Grandpa Al, Star Wars socks, earbuds, and a Steam gift card. All of the kids received new sleds from both sets of grandparents. They were so excited that each of them would now have their own sleds. Mike received a chef coat, a new winter hat, a Colorado biking shirt, some Star Wars socks, a new lego set, the Amazon Fire Stick, and a set of TILES that hook onto your keychain and fit in your wallet to help you find them when they are lost. I also wrapped up Mike's lego from last year as a joke since he never put it together. He laughed real hard when he opened that gift. In addition to the bike, Mike also got me some great clothes from Athleta. Mike and I received a Panera gift card and some books about the D&C from my parents and we received money towards guns from Mike's dad. Uncle Jack also sent us an Amazon gift card which was nice.
After the presents were all opened we enjoyed our traditional cinnamon rolls. They were so yummy. I purposely didn't keep track of how many I ate. It was fun to play with our new things. Andrew was excited to get a new game on the computer while Peter played with his drones until the batteries ran low, and the girls rolled around the house on their new skates. Then we got ready and headed to church. It is always such a blessing to have Christmas on a Sunday--and even more of a blessing when you have afternoon church. It was so nice to be able to go and worship for an hour to feel the Spirit and remember the true meaning of Christmas. Of course, when we got home we put our Christmas PJs back on and enjoyed the rest of the day together.
The day before Christmas is always a special day. We usually spend the day just hanging out as a family. Today was spent preparing our Christmas dinner, making sugar cookies, making cinnamon rolls, wearing our new Christmas PJ's, reading from the scriptures, and finally reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Every year the kids ask if we can open presents early to which we reply, "No." The anticipation of presents in the morning is what makes Christmas morning so fun. This year we opted to not act out the nativity but instead just listened to Mike as he read and taught from the New Testament. It was definitely a more spiritual experience. We are so lucky to be able to enjoy this wonderful time of year together where we are better able to focus our thoughts towards the Savior and why we are grateful for His life and love for us.
Our annual ski trip to Steamboat was once again a total success. Every year we try to sneak away for a few days before Christmas to ski as a family. This year was a little different since we had Madeline and couldn't ski all together. Even though Mike and I rotated skiing with the kids we had just as good of a time as always. We left on Sunday after Sacrament Mtg so we could take advantage of the daylight. It was a good thing too because the roads leaving I70 were pretty icy and dangerous. We were blessed to get there without any problems.
Monday morning we woke up and it was -4F with a real feel of -13F so we opted to wait a little longer before getting everyone ready to go ski. Mike took the first shift with the kids and skiied Tomahawk and some of the runs coming off of the Tomahawk run. Even though the temperatures were still pretty cold the sun seemed to warm everyone up enough that no one was uncomfortable. I met them up at the Thunderhead Lodge at the top of the Gondola around noon to bring lunch and hand over the baby to Mike. After lunch we headed back over to Sunshine Peak to ski Tomahawk and High Noon. I loved being able to watch them all go off the jumps and ski fast down Tomahawk. I ended up going ahead a few times so that I could take pictures of all the kids as they flew down the mountain. The weather couldn't have been more perfect.
On Tuesday we followed pretty much the same routine with the kids. The weather was sunny again which made for another great day of skiing. As I was heading up the Gondola to bring lunch I got to the top and realized that I had forgotten to strap on the backpack with the lunch in it. Ooops. So, the kids got really expensive burgers and fries for lunch at the lodge and then the kids and I headed out to ski. Since I didn't have the backpack that also meant I didn't have my big camera. Oh well. Phone photos would have to be good enough. In some ways it was nice to not worry about photos today and just ski and have fun with the kids.
Our last day of skiing was not sunny at all but we still had a great time. The visibility in the early morning wasn't great but got better mid day. The kids skiied Tomahawk, High Noon, Lower High Noon, West Side, Quickdraw, Flintlock, Spike and Broadway. Everyone's favorite run was probably a toss up between High Noon and Tomahawk. On our second to last run on Tomahawk I was stopped after the first 2 steep pitches on Tomahawk to take photos of the kids jumping. As Abby jumped I noticed that she didn't stop at the next rolling hill. After all the kids jumped we raced to try and catch up with her. I sent Andrew speeding down the run to try and find her. I was nervous the entire run but was comforted when I saw her at the bottom happy as a clam. Andrew never did catch up to her before the run was finished. Needless to say we had a little chat about staying together. The kids all skiied so well this year. Andrew's form was the best it had ever looked and I know it was because he was in such good shape from swimming. He definitely looked better than I did and I know this will be the year his skill level with exceed mine on the skis.
Today was our first day skiing with the kids this season. It was also the first time that we were going to try swapping with the baby so that Mike and I could both ski. I took the first shift with the baby since I needed to feed her once we parked the car at Eldora. Mike took the kids over to the Kids Zone section so that they could ease back into skiing. It only took a few runs for everyone to get their ski legs back. We all met for lunch at the lodge and then I handed over Madeline to Mike so that I could ski with the kids. We stayed together as much as we could but before we knew it, Andrew had gotten separated from us. When we didn't see him waiting at the top or the bottom we just had to keep skiing, hoping we would run into him. Eventually Abby was finished skiing so we took her back to the car so that I could take Emma and Peter on the bigger lift and do one of the harder blue runs. At this point we didn't really know where Andrew was but assumed when he was done he would head to the car. Peter, Emma and I skied down Jolly Jug. It was pretty steep at the top but got more fun the further down we skied. The weather was getting a little colder and the visibility was starting to get bad so we decided one run was good enough and headed back to the car. Just as we got to the car we saw Andrew. Apparently he had also gone up and done Jolly Jug. We must have just missed him. Madeline was happy in the car with Mike and took the bottle really well. Hopefully it will be this easy with the baby next time we ski.
The kids always look forward to our annual North Pole Breakfast. This usually takes place on the first Saturday in December. Our Elves, Jack and Jill, come and join us and bring the powdered donuts. We have Mike's famous buttermilk pancakes, bacon, berries, and chocolate milk. Our fun little breakfast is the perfect way to ring in the Christmas season.