There’s no snow on the ground, there hasn’t been any at all yet this winter! It feels so strange to be a week away from Christmas and no snow!
We’ve had a busy December and it’s been a lot of fun too. I feel like every age we say this is the best year yet, and as this year comes to a close…I’m feeling like our kids are at the best age and this is the best year yet! Here’s some of the fun we’ve done this month so far:
- I took Josie and Ben to Katy Perry with some friends. It was Ben’s first big concert. He was nervous for the loud noises. Especially since Josie told him that at Paul McCartney, there were fireworks. The usher saw he had his ears plugged on the way to the bathroom, so she gave us earplugs. By the end of the show, he didn’t need them in. We danced, sang, and rocked out. It was great. (Billy and Will did an indoor golf simulator with friends. Livi was on a date with her boyfriend).
- Ben was in his first performance of The Nutcracker. I say first, because it won’t be his last. The kid was beaming. He’s feet never touched the ground, Ben was on cloud 9. He was in the Infantry. His part was very small, but he has a ball. We had two full rows of friends and family that came to support him. My heart felt full the whole day, we are lucky to have so many special people in our lives.
- The kids had their piano recital at school last week. They did fantastic.
- I had a birthday!
- Livi turned 16 two days ago. We currently have a house full of teenagers. It’s our first time with a teen birthday party. I think we pulled it off pretty good. They are all nice kids, but we hid the alcohol just to be safe. 🙂
We have one week left of school then holiday break begins. Ready or not, here we come!
Will, Ben, and Josie.
This year marks 6 years of doing our month of give thanks. Here are some of the highlights:
- We donated to the school library for the first time. We gave over 100 books so students could enjoy them.
- Josie and I wrapped presents for Amanda the Panda (They support families that are grieving the loss of a loved one)
- We wrote thank you cards to farmers to show them a little love.
- We donated a buddy bench to the school in memory of our neighbor and buddy we lost earlier this year.
This year was also the first year we let the kids select a charity to donate to. They researched and we made the donation. Josie selected Children’s Cancer Connection in memory of Aunt Meredith’s mom, Lynn. Will selected JDRF for his buddy Luke. Ben wanted to donated to research, originally he said wikipedia. But thanks to a good friend we were connected with the Drake Library and got a behind the scenes tour of the archives. It was really cool!
I am not sure how this happened, but we are already at the start of October. YIKES! Here are a some fun things that happened:
- We went to Omaha for a whirlwind day over Labor Day. It was quick but fun to be with family. We got to meet our new niece and spend quality time with Lynn before she passed away.
- We created the “Wakonda Quad” then accomplished it: tennis, swim, golf, and dinner all in one day. So fun!
- We started soccer for the kiddos and volleyball for Livi. It’s been fun to watch all the activities.
- We celebrated Grandshe’s BIG 7-0 in a BIG way. Party, family pictures, mother daughter pedicures (that might have been my fav). By the end of the celebration, I think she felt all the love.
- We sent Livi off to her first homecoming (our first to send a kid).
Things I don’t want to forget:
- Ben pretends the “audience” at soccer games are strictly there for him. He puts on his own half time show on the way to the bench to talk to his coach. One handed cart wheels, round offs, and a BIG wave and kisses blown to the parents before his water break.
- Will had to make a church at religious ed and list all the people that support him and lift him up. At the top of his list was his friends Luke and Blake then family. It completely melted my heart and makes me so thankful he loves his buddies.
- Josie was at the store with me and I told her she could pick out a bouncy ball. One was more expensive than the other, so I said “What’s the difference”? I was thinking why was one more expensive than the other, what does this one do that that one doesn’t? Without hesitation, Josie said “Three dollars!” I couldn’t stop laughing. She said “I thought you were giving me a pop quiz.”
On August 11th we welcomed Livi from Switzerland into our home for the school year. The idea of having a Foreign Exchange Student came this summer, but we were thinking of doing it in a couple of years. After playing on the website for a few weeks, we decided to request more information. I emailed on a Thursday, had a conversation that afternoon, filled out paperwork on Friday, had a home inspection on Saturday, and by the following Tuesday we found out Livi would be living with us starting three weeks later!
Since Livi’s arrival, here are a few things we’ve done:
- Took a surprise trip to Orlando to go to Universal Studios, 5 days after she arrived.
- Started school
- Started volleyball
- Lake weekend at our friend’s cabin
- Tried a donut (her favorite new food)
We are learning how to have a teenager (a few years earlier than planned) as well as having 4 kids. We think it will be a great adventure for all of us. #bemispartyofsix
We are getting closer to the end of summer and I don’t think any of us want it to be over! We are having a blast. Here are our July highlights:
- 4th of July weekend, we went to our friend’s lake house. They have all the fun lake toys: boat, tube, kayak, stand up paddle board…the kids were entertained (and so were the parents). We got to watch fireworks from the boat in the middle of the lake. Wendy and I did early morning walks. It was a perfect get-a-way.
- On the 4th of July, Ben had his debut show of synchronized swimming. He rocked it! He had a solo to the Lion King’s “I just can’t wait to be King”, duet to “Anything you can do, I can do better”, and a group dance to “Cuban Pete”. The team welcomed him with open arms and Ben had the time of his life! At the end of the season, he ended up getting first in all of the above for his age division against the other country clubs.
- The boys finished up their swim team season. They had so much fun. I loved having something to do everyday at the start of summer, now I am looking forward to more down time and hanging at home.
- Josie and Will wrapped up golf lessons. They both got 2nd place in their age division in the final competition.
- I rode my bike across Iowa, well part of Iowa. RAGBRAI was fantastic.
- Billy got in as much golf as he could.
Josie is officially 10. We celebrated here, there, and everywhere!
We started with her very first slumber party. The girls had a blast and are such a great group. They did essential oil roller balls, painted a picture frame, ate lots of treats, hit a piñata, played outside, and watched a movie. Everyone was a sleep by 10:30pm – SCORE!
Josie’s actual birthday was celebrated in Alabama. She loved having her extended family with her! She rode go karts and ate cake by the ocean…which was one of her wishes. When we got back home and Grandshe returned from Spain, we celebrated at home with Grandshe.
Things about Josie:
- She is still the kind caring kid we all love
- She is still an old soul
- She still has a gift with music, she can call out a song a few chords in. Especially oldies.
- She’s really into reading the Sisters Grimm and Harry Potter
- She is playing piano really well
- She loves sports, but would pick watching a movie any day
- She makes us very proud
What an amazing trip to the Gulf Shore. We would definitely go back again. It was the kind of trip you don’t need a vacation from your vacation when you get home, so relaxing! The ocean was so peaceful and spending time with our extended family was just what we needed. Even Josie said her favorite thing was spending time with everyone outside of the holidays.
- Billy kayaked in the ocean a TON. He took out the kids (especially the boys) and the two of us got out there twice.
- Josie officially turned 10 in Alabama, how cool is that?
- Joanne and Ben put on a tap dance to Elvis Presley’s “Teddy Bear”. It may be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
- We had a fun parents night out while Grandma, Grandpa, and Josie watched the kids.
- Lots of fun on the beach! We took a sand castle class, we played soccer, raced, walked, and so much more.
- Uncle Johnny knocked his tooth out when a big wave hit his Stand Up Paddle Board. Luckily, the tooth stuck in the board!
- The boys had a peanut scare that involved me having to stab them in the thigh with EPI Pens as we drove down the highway to the ER. Will unbuckled his seat belt and later told us he was going to jump in the trunk. I stabbed him about 4 times before realizing I was using the one I already did on Ben. Ben’s entered above his knee cap versus on his thigh (he kept guarding his thigh) so his knee was sore for a day. The check in nurse said, “You’ll hurting anywhere besides where mama stabbed you?!” The doctor said I saved their lives and I cried.